Does SAT score predict PSAT?

My son got 1540 on his June SAT test. He will be taking the PSAT in October. Does his SAT test score will to predict what he will most likely get on his PSAT in October? Also the PSAT will be in digital format so it may be different from the paper format he took.

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He can expect to do well. I’d probably to the available digital practice tests just to get used to the format.


The PSAT is a shorter version of the SAT and supposedly easier (because it is for kids who have not yet finished junior and senior classes in math and English). Moreover, evidently just taking a PSAT or SAT in real time will improve your next score.

However, the digital PSAT and SAT are different, but I’m not sure how. As @TonyGrace wrote - have your kid take practice digital tests so he is familiar with this new format.

I’d study for the PSAT. Can he take a digital SAT as prep? Or is he disciplined enough to take practice tests as seriously as the real thing? It might be harder to prep for because it’s adaptive. If he’s doing well he’ll get a diet of mostly or only hard questions. My impression of adaptive tests is that the early questions are very important, because by doing well you get access to the high-value questions later, with more bonus for being right and less penalty for being wrong.

Yes, SAT score is highly correlated with PSAT score. Based on an SAT score of 1540, your child is in reach of scoring well enough on the PSAT to be named a National Merit Semi Finalist (NMSF) and if grades are also good, eventually a National Merit Finalist (NMF) which puts the student in the running for scholarships (most small, but a few that are full rides.)

A few of things that you might want to consider, if you haven’t already:

  1. The PSAT is scored both as a raw score, and as something called a Selection Index (SI)
  2. When calculating the SI from the raw score, twice as much weight is given to the verbal sections than the math sections. So 2 different students may earn the same raw score on the PSAT, but have different SI values.
  3. What SI qualifies for NMSF varies a lot based on state of residence.
    National Merit Semifinalist Cutoffs Class of 2023 ARCHIVE - Compass Education Group

Probably but make sure he does some digital PSAT practice because the test is different and adaptive. I’ve read vocabulary is huge on the digital PSAT.

The selection index for National Merit qualification is 2 x Verbal + Math. So Verbal is twice as important as math.

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SAT and PSAT scores are equated on the same scale, so if they are taken at the same time with the same performance they should yield the same score.

At 1540, you are running into ceiling effects on the PSAT, and there is a typical 60-point inter-test variance (again, compressed near the ceiling), but I would say an “expected” score should be 1500-1520. But there is always variance, and there can be outliers on any single test.

Scores range from 320 to 1520 and are on the same score scale as the SAT. This means that a score of 1100 on the PSAT/NMSQT is equivalent to a score of 1100 on the SAT. The only difference is that SAT scores range from 400 to 1600, because the difficulty level of the questions is higher than on the PSAT/NMSQT.