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National Merit Cutoffs for Class of '20 Announced

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The folks who create and score the PSAT, also know as the National Merit Qualifying Score Test (NMQST) have announced the cutoff score for Commended status.  The qualifying score, also known as the Selection Index, remains the same as last year:  212.

Students of US citizenship scoring in the top 50,000 of test takers nationally qualify for official Commended status.  Of this group, approximately 16,000 test takers who later sit for the SAT go on to achieve "confirmation scores" that place them in top tier of scorers will likely advance to the Semifinalist level.


In order to calculate one's Selection Index, the student needs to refer to their PSAT for the two test sections:  the Reading and Writing section and the Math section.  Index calculation is as follows:

* Remove the zero after each section

ex. A section score of 700 converts to 70

* Multiply the Reading and Writing section score by 2; then add the Math section score

ex.  Reading and Writing section score is 720           Math section score is 700

(72 x 2) + 70 = 214

Since this result is higher than the cutoff of 212, this student's test score is qualifies for National Merit Commendation.

For more information on how students advance into upper rankings of National Merit recognition, including state-by-state cutoffs for Semifinalist status, click to READ MORE

Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and NACAC and can be reached via

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