National Merit Scholarship Program has released the 2016 PSAT qualifying scores.**
The National Merit cutoff score for Texas has gone even higher this graduating year – 2016. The SemiFinalist cutoff score for Texas is 220. The race is getting ever tighter and it’s debatable how relevant it is when qualifying scores represent such a small different between abilities. But there are quite a few excellent schools who use National Merit qualifications to give out excellent academic scholarships, so it makes sense to pay attention to the PSAT. In any case, studying for the PSAT won’t be a total waste, since it does help prepare you to take the SAT later. (It’s original purpose, as in “Preliminary” SAT.)
From our son’s experience, here are my tips on preparing for the PSAT and SAT. Our son achieved a score high enough to be a National Merit Semifinalist. We are very proud of all his hard work (and thankful for a little luck.) But also, in case you haven’t heard yet, the PSAT and SAT are changing, with the PSAT taken in fall 2015 already reflecting the changes.
Here are the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalist Selection Index Qualifying Scores by state from the National Merit Scholarship Program Guide September 2015. Students who make this cut-off will need to submit a “confirming” SAT score (see my guide to best study aids) along with their application for the next stage of the competition in October.
** UPDATE 1/7/2016** The scores below are from the 2014 PSAT test. Qualifying scores were released in 2015 for 2016 graduating seniors. The PSAT scores released today for the newly designed 2015 PSAT, the National Merit Qualifying test for graduating Seniors in 2017, are on a different scale than in past years. I’m working on a post on how to interpret 2015 PSAT scores. And I’ve now complete a post about how to predict which 2015 PSAT scores might qualify for National Merit Semifinalist.
UPDATE 12/12/2016 – For a prediction of 2018 National Merit Semifinalist cutoff scores see Compass Prep Predictions National Merit Semifinalist Cutoffs Class of 2018
If it looks like you’re going to miss the cut-off score, please remember that there are many paths to success. In fact, I’m beginning to think that if you expend a lot of energy trying to attain success as the way education defines it, you may actually hurt your chances for success. Check out my posts about Outliers.
New Hampshire 213
New Jersey 225
New Mexico 208
New York 219
North Carolina 215
North Dakota 202
Rhode Island 212
South Carolina 211
South Dakota 202
West Virginia 202
District of Columbia 225
U.S. territories & Commonwealth 202
Outside the U.S. 225