The PSAT Scores for National Merit Scholarship 2023 (All States)

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National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT), taken during junior year of high school, serves as the main foundation for the National Merit Scholarship Program.


The PSAT/NMSQT is often referred to as just the PSAT, although some students use it as a practice exam for the SAT. However, getting a high score is a noteworthy achievement to put on a college application and may lead to lucrative scholarships.


Around 1.6 million juniors take the PSAT yearly to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship. But what score is truly required to be designated a Semifinalist? In this tutorial, we’ll explain what PSAT score you need to be considered a Semifinalist in your state and maybe go further to compete for a National Merit Scholarship.

Key Takeaways 

  • The National Merit Scholarship: What is it?
  • How Are PSAT Scores Calculated?
  • State-by-State Qualifying Scores for National Merit Semifinalists
  • Scholarships
  • What Comes Next for Semifinalists?
  • What Effect Will the PSAT Have on My College Chances?
PSAT Score Is National Merit

The National Merit Scholarship: What Is It?

The National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP), which has multiple levels and rewards, was established in 1955. Every National Merit candidate vies for a National Merit Scholarship, a $2,500 lump-sum prize. There are also corporate and college-sponsored rewards for students who satisfy certain qualifying conditions:


Commended students, semifinalists, and finalists are the three degrees of distinction offered by the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Recognized Students

Instead of being selected at the state level, commended students are picked nationwide. The top 50,000 PSAT scoring make up the commended group of pupils.

While they do not qualify for National Merit Scholarships, more than two-thirds of the Commended Students be honoured with commendation letters for their achievements and exceptional academic promise.

Many will compete for unique scholarships supported by corporations and businesses even though they do not qualify for National Merit Scholarships.

Recommended scholarships for you:

Fully Funded Mathematics Scholarships For International Students 2023

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Fully Funded Undergraduate Scholarships In France For International Students in 2023/24

PSAT Semifinalists 2023

State-by-state selection of semifinalists ensures fair representation throughout the nation. The PSAT qualifying scores might change from year to year, and semifinalists are those who scored the highest in their state. In Maine, for instance, a score of 221 would have qualified you as a Semifinalist last year, but in the 2022–2023 cycle, you’d need a 215 to reach the cutoff.


From the pool of Semifinalists, around 15,000 Finalists are chosen based on several variables. An honourable Certificate of Merit is given to each Finalist.

How Are PSAT Scores Calculated?

The PSAT has two portions, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math, each valued between 160 and 760 points, and is graded on a range of 320 to 1520 in ten-point increments.

The College Board, the organization in charge of administering the PSAT, converts raw results into scaled scores to consider the variations in test difficulty across PSAT variants. The number of questions a student properly answered makes up their raw score. Three raw scores are given to students:

  • Math
  • Reading
  • Language and writing

The Selection Index determines a student’s degree of National Merit program recognition. The three raw subsection scores are added together, and the result is multiplied by two to produce the Selection Index scores, which range from 48 to 228.

State-by-State Qualifying Scores For National Merit Semifinalists 2023

Unlike SAT and ACT scores, you may also be certain that PSAT results are not required in the college admissions process. In other words, disclosing your PSAT score on your college application is entirely voluntary.

  • Alabama: 212
  • Alaska: 210
  • Arizona: 214
  • Arkansas: 210
  • California: 220
  • Colorado: 217
  • Connecticut: 221
  • Delaware: 218
  • Florida: 216
  • Georgia: 218
  • Hawaii: 215
  • Idaho: 215
  • Illinois: 219
  • Indiana: 214
  • Iowa: 212
  • Kansas: 214
  • Kentucky: 212
  • Louisiana: 213
  • Maine: 215
  • Maryland: 222
  • Massachusetts: 220
  • Michigan: 218
  • Minnesota: 216
  • Mississippi: 210
  • Missouri: 213
  • Montana: 207
  • Nebraska: 212
  • Nevada: 210
  • New Hampshire: 213
  • New Jersey: 223
  • New Mexico: 208
  • New York: 219
  • North Carolina: 217
  • North Dakota: 209
  • Ohio: 216
  • Oklahoma: 211
  • Oregon: 216
  • Pennsylvania: 218
  • Rhode Island: 216
  • South Carolina: 213
  • South Dakota: 212
  • Tennessee: 215
  • Texas: 219
  • Utah: 211
  • Vermont: 213
  • Virginia: 221
  • Washington: 220
  • Washington, DC 223
  • West Virginia: 207
  • Wisconsin: 213
  • Wyoming: 207
  • S. Territories / Commended: 207
  • S. Abroad: 223

Scholarship For National Merit

A little over half of the Finalists—roughly 7,600—are selected to earn a National Merit Scholarship. Candidates are assessed on their aptitudes, competencies, and achievements in addition to their PSAT results using documents like their academic records, letters of reference, and essays.

Awards For Merit Scholarships Provided By Businesses

Students who fit certain requirements, such as children of workers, inhabitants of the area where the business works, or students with certain career objectives defined by the sponsoring corporation, may be eligible for corporately funded scholarships. Corporate scholarships may be one-time or reoccurring rewards.

Awards For Merit Scholarships Provided By Colleges

College scholarships are given out by the institutions that Finalists have been admitted to and have listed as their top choices. Scholarship levels vary, and prizes sponsored by colleges are extendable for four years of college.

What Comes Next For PSAT Semifinalists?

National Merit Semifinalists may take the following steps to advance to National Merit Scholar status.

When Will Semifinalists Learn If They Are Selected?

Beginning in early September, high schools notify semifinalists of their success. Semifinalists who are homeschooled are announced at their residences. Senior-year finalists are contacted in February, while winners are notified between March and June.0

You can learn more from the video below:

Requirements For Semifinalists To Apply To Be A Finalist

To advance to finalist status, semifinalists must fulfil several criteria. For instance, students need to keep up an outstanding academic record, submit an essay, and get the principal of their high school to endorse them.

Along with attaining and offering a valid SAT or ACT score, semifinalists must also satisfy specific citizenship criteria. High school students must be semifinalists if they want to attend college or a university in the autumn of 2024.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) requests this information even though your personal college preferences will not play a role in deciding whether or not you make the Finalist list or get a scholarship.

This is because the awards are only given to students enrolled in accredited U.S. colleges or universities. Instead of stating their top school choices, applicants may indicate unsurely; nevertheless, the NMSC requests that you update them as soon as feasible.

Note: Students who attend high school abroad or are full-time college students must meet particular conditions to participate in the National Merit Program. Check out the National Merit Scholarship Program’s requirements and instructions for semifinalists for 2023.

What Effect Will The PSAT Have On My College Chances?

Your PSAT score will not impact your prospects of getting into college. Nevertheless, the PSAT is a practical test. The PSAT is a great way for kids to be ready for the SAT and ACT since it is often their first experience with a timed, highly organized test.

The PSAT enables students to get comfortable with the format and subject matter of the test and to pinpoint their strengths and areas for improvement to better prepare for more important tests. Even though more and more institutions are providing test-optional admissions, submitting your results is generally seen to strengthen your application.

Completing the PSAT is the first stage of becoming a National Merit Scholar, which will increase any applicant’s chances of being accepted into college. Semifinalists and Commended Scholars still make excellent contributions to any college application; however, they don’t get the same attention from admissions offices.

Want to see how you compare against other applicants? Your chances of admission to hundreds of schools and universities may be predicted using Collegevine’s free chancy engine. With the aid of our chancy engine, you may identify the institutions that are the ideal match for you while also enhancing your application approach.


If your score wasn’t good enough to be recognized in the National Merit competition, don’t panic. There are many other methods to get merit scholarships, and the National Merit Scholarship isn’t a very generous cash prize.

Numerous institutions provide large merit incentives, especially to coveted students. A wise approach to obtaining one of these worthwhile merit scholarships is to submit applications to universities where your profile is excellent.


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