# PSAT National Merit Cutoff Calculator

#### 1. Calculate your Selection Index (SI) if you don’t know it

Your Selection Index is the number that’s used to determine whether you qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

You can find your Selection Index by looking in your PSAT Score Report or by using the calculator below.

Your Math Score (160 to 760):

Your NMSC Selection Index (48 to 228):

#### 2. Determine whether you’ll be commended

Students who meet or exceed the commended cutoff for their year receive a Letter of Commendation at the very least.

Unlike the semifinalist cutoffs, the commended cutoff is nationwide and does not vary by state.

Out of 1.5 million entrants, only 50,000 are considered high scorers, from which only 34,000 are commended.

Old PSATNew PSAT
Class of{{year}}
Commended SI Cutoff
Converted Cutoff*{{score}}

*Converted Cutoffs are old-PSAT cutoffs from past years translated to the current PSAT scale. They give you an apples-to-apples way of predicting future cutoffs. These converted cutoffs were calculated from the official College Board concordance tables. Just keep in mind that these are just estimates. We continually adjust our algorithm as more data becomes available.

#### 3. Determine whether you’ll be a Semifinalist

Semifinalist status is determined on a per-state basis.

You’ll find out whether you qualify as a semifinalist in late September.

Only 16,000 of the 34,000 commended students make it to this step. However, there is still the finalist round to get through before any scholarships are given. Whether you get through the finalist round depends on other criteria. Full details can be found on the official site.

Old PSATNew PSAT
Class of{{year}}
Semifinalist SI Cutoff
Converted Cutoff*{{score}}
Our Past Prediction{{projection}}

#### How Accurate Are We?

For the Class of 2017

• {{calculator.getSuccessRate(2017, 0)}}% of the semifinalist cutoffs matched up exactly with the calculator’s prediction.
• {{calculator.getSuccessRate(2017, 1)}}% of the cutoffs were within 1 point of the calculator’s prediction.
• {{calculator.getSuccessRate(2017, 2)}}% of the cutoffs were within 2 points of the calculator’s prediction.
• {{calculator.getSuccessRate(2017, 3)}}% of the cutoffs were within 3 points of the calculator’s prediction.

For the Class of 2018

• {{calculator.getSuccessRate(2018, 0)}}% of the semifinalist cutoffs matched up exactly with the calculator’s prediction.
• {{calculator.getSuccessRate(2018, 1)}}% of the cutoffs were within 1 point of the calculator’s prediction.
• {{calculator.getSuccessRate(2018, 2)}}% of the cutoffs were within 2 points of the calculator’s prediction.
• {{calculator.getSuccessRate(2018, 3)}}% of the cutoffs were within 3 points of the calculator’s prediction.

### 121 thoughts on “PSAT National Merit Cutoff Calculator”

1. Janet Bockey says:

Has college board officially announced that 209 is the cut off for commended for 2017? This is the first I’ve seen that stated as a fact (as opposed to an educated guess) and want to confirm that it is accurate. Thank you!!!

• Yes, it is accurate. The College Board does not publicly announce the number when it is released. Instead, it’s reported through the schools so that commended students are notified.

• Taha says:

Wait…. So do commended students become notified by the counselors or do schools just release the commended cutoff?

2. Catherine says:

Hi, I was just wondering how you reached these estimates. The PrepScholar blog has also predicted the semifinalist cutoff for Texas, but it is 217, not 219. They said that they based their estimates on last year’s cutoffs, but I know you used a similar method as well. My score was 217, so I desperately want to believe that it will be the cutoff, but I’m aware of how high the Class of 2016’s cutoff was (220!).
Is there any way that Prepscholar could be correct, or will I have to accept my fate? Thank you so much.

• Catherine says:

Whoops, sorry, the converted cutoff for the Class of 2016 is 219, not 220.
Perhaps Prepscholar was using the converted cutoff for the Class of 2015?

• Hi Catherine, I based my estimates off of the past several years, not just last year, so perhaps that accounts for the differences between my estimates and those on other sites.

It’s definitely possible for the cutoff to be 217. The New PSAT is sort of a wild card and I’m sure there will be some surprises in the results. Remember that these are just estimates and there is no way to know for sure until the official cutoffs are announced. In short, hope for the best but realize your score is on the border.

3. Kathy says:

Is it even worth reporting on your college application if you are commended?

• Yes, absolutely. Sure, it may not stand out at the top schools, but it might make a small difference for your safeties/matches. There’s no reason not to report it.

• Sonja Bryan says:

At Liberty University, commended status gets you a full tuition scholarship.

• Q says:

He said safety schools, not diploma mills

• B Davis says:

Q, there’s no need for a slam. I am personally aware of the Liberty U program and campus, and I know some of its students, and this comment is simply unjustified. The on-campus (I cannot speak for online) program is highly legit, with excellent facilities and some good programs that will indeed result in a meaningful education and far from a “diploma mill”. No, it’s not an Ivy nor high-end private school, but its focus and emphases offer things those schools don’t which are of great value to some. Just encouraging folks to be charitable and not react to rumor or lack of first-hand knowledge.

• systemBuilder says:

I went to MIT and I was a commended student. However, I also had a lot of leadership activities. Definitely, put it on your college application, it cannot hurt.

4. sam says:

Is the cutoff – 221 for California the official results? When will the students who have scored above 209 but not meeting the cutoff receive the commendation letter?

Thanks

• Yes, 221 is the official result for the Class of 2017. If you’re commended, you’ll typically receive an official notification in late September. In other words, you should know by now if you’re in the class of 2017. If you’re in the class of 2018, you’ll have to wait ’til September.

5. Jessica says:

I have some question about your statement. “Once you’re a semifinalist, you’re guaranteed a $2,500 scholarship.” My daughter is a semifinalist, actually she is a finalist. But she never got$2,500 scholarship. At least we didn’t get any email to regarding to this scholarship. How can this scholarship be found?

• Sorry, that statement is actually incorrect and will be edited. You only qualify for the scholarship once you’re a finalist. Out of 15,000 finalists, half of them will receive some type of scholarship. Your daughter will find out from March to mid-June. Full details can be found here.

6. Jackie says:

I am a bit confused about the cutoffs. My daughter just got her scores back. She is class of 2018. Her Selection Index is 211. The Florida cutoff prediction is significantly lower than the national cutoff for 2016 (200-204) vs the national cutoff of 209. What exactly does this mean for her? She was extremely sick the day she took the test … its remarkable that she scored so well. The results sheet predicts that she will make perfect scores on her SAT test. Pretty cool!!!

• Hi Jackie, I’m not sure where you’re reading these numbers for Florida. We have not made any predictions for the class of 2018 yet. The commended cutoff for the class of 2017 was 209. The semifinalist cutoff for Florida was 217. Using those numbers from last year, your daughter is likely to get commended but very unlikely to be a semifinalist. That being said, 211 is a great score and I congratulate your daughter. Nothing will be announced for the class of 2018 until September, so you will have to wait until then for anything to be official.
EDIT: I no longer recommend judging scores based on last year’s cutoffs. All signs in the data point to higher cutoffs this year.

7. Les says:

Will a 213 selection index be enough for commended for the class of 2018?

• Yes. The cutoff for the class of 2017 was 209, so 213 is pretty safe.
EDIT: I no longer recommend judging scores based on last year’s cutoffs. All signs in the data point to higher cutoffs this year.

• Mark says:

Please update us on the new curves! I’m 219 in /ohio and extremely worried.

8. Laura Penn says:

My daughter also received her score today. Her index is 223. She is Class of 2018 and we live in Georgia. I am just reading up and trying to understand what this means exactly. Do you have any idea where this might fall? I see predictions for other years, but not for Class of 2018. Thanks!

• Wow, 223 is a great score. We haven’t made any predictions for the class of 2018, but judging from the class of 2017 (219 was the semifinalist cutoff), I think it’s safe to say your daughter will be recognized by the National Merit Program. Not only will your daughter be commended but she is also nearly guaranteed to reach semifinalist status, which will grant her the opportunity to get a \$2500 scholarship.
EDIT: I no longer recommend judging scores based on last year’s cutoffs. All signs in the data point to higher cutoffs this year.

• Matt says:

Where can we find your predictions for the class of 2019?

9. Michael Bogaev says:

Hi. I’m from Connecticut and I got a 217…that won’t be enough for the NM Semis (likely) will it… 🙁

• You’ll get commended but semis is unlikely 🙁
EDIT: I no longer recommend judging scores based on last year’s cutoffs. All signs in the data point to higher cutoffs this year.

10. Lara J. says:

Hello! My daughter (class of 2018) lives in Illinois and received a 221. Last year’s cut off was 219, but it seems the cut-offs for Illinois have been rising rather quickly in the past few years. Is there any way she will be able to become a semi-finalist come next September? Thanks!

• There’s a very good chance she’ll make semifinalist. Even if the cutoffs for Illinois have been increasing, your daughter beat last year’s cutoff by 2 points, which is a much bigger deal than it sounds.
EDIT: I no longer recommend judging scores based on last year’s cutoffs. All signs in the data point to higher cutoffs this year.

11. Dee says:

My child scored an index of 216. We live in PA. Do you think she will be a commended scholar? What do you think the possibility of being a semi finalist will be?

• She will definitely be a commended scholar. It’s possible she gets to the semifinalist round but the chances are small.
EDIT: I no longer recommend judging scores based on last year’s cutoffs. All signs in the data point to higher cutoffs this year.

12. Lorie Oliver says:

My child received a 221–38, 38, and 34.5. We live in VA. What are his chances for becoming a semi finalist?

13. Mark Watney says:

Hey. I am in class of 2018 and just received my PSAT scores. I got a 220 and live in North Carolina. How good are my chances for making semifinalist?

14. Margaret says:

Reading above it looks like commended is probably a 209. Just making sure I am reading that right. I’m very proud of my daughter’s 209 she got today. We are out of the running we know for semi-finalist as from CT (220 likely or HIGHER) , but if she gets commended star next to her name in graduation program. Yes, sometimes it’s the little things. . . .

Just making sure that is done nationally for commended?

• Yes – nationally, though I no longer recommend judging scores based on last year’s cutoffs. All signs in the data point to higher cutoffs this year.

• Lorie says:

Will the cutoffs go higher than the old “highest” standard of 222?

• PaMom says:

When you say much higher, does that mean you think even the upper threshold states too? Do you think PA could go from 218 to 222? (We have a 221 and very nervous).

15. Chauncey says:

Hello…my son got a 220 and we are in CA…what is his chance of making semifinalist? Thanks

16. Sherri says:

We are in Texas. My daughter got 1490 and SI 224. What is her chance to become a semifinalist?

17. Corinne says:

Any chance you will know when you will have more information regarding cutoffs? My daughter scored a 223 in a state with a 217 cutoff last year. Wondering how much higher last year’s cutoffs could get?

18. Sandra says:

My daughter got a PSAT score of 1450 (SI 215) in Colorado for class of 2018. Do you think she has any chance to make the cutoff for semifinalist?

19. Falsename19 says:

Will a 1470 (221 selection index) have a chance in New Jersey for receiving a semifinalist qualification? Thank you!!

20. Jay says:

What are you basing the much higher cutoffs prediction on? Is it anecdotal from schools that have received scores, or is it based upon information that you have seen from the College Board? Is it across the board geographically? Do you think that the cutoffs could move 4 points or more higher? Thanks.

21. Suzie says:

My son made a 218 in Mississippi. Do you think he made the NMSF cutoff?

22. Diana Ushiyama says:

Just viewed your video and YES… it’s very informative, thank you! Our son scored a 1450 with a SI of 221. Seems that is a safe score for commended in our state (California) but iffy for semi-finalist, correct?

23. Name123 says:

Does that mean that semifinalist scores will rise by the same margin, i.e. 218 to 223? Or much lower/higher?

24. ALXPTR says:

I’m an SAT prep guy myself and expected the first year’s PSAT (and early SAT) scores to be high–to make everyone (well, maybe not colleges) feel better about the new test–and that’s exactly what I saw with my own students: pretty much everyone was happy with their numbers. My guess was that, subsequently, the PSAT and SAT scores would gradually have to come down to make the test more credible with colleges. Since the numbers are just coming in, I haven’t heard that much from my other kids yet… my own son, who had more of an idea what to expect this year, pulled a 35 on the ACT on the October ACT, but only went up from a 1450 to a 1460 (same English, 10 points higher in Math) on the PSAT. So, my guess is still that the number will move back, not up. May be wishful thinking… What are your students reporting?

• If The College Board is playing games rather than keeping things consistent, then you could be right. I’m taking their data as a given for now, but I’m open to hearing what others have experienced. My students are reporting higher scores but that may just be because I taught them 😉

For now, treat this as speculation.

• ZJ says:

How higher your students’ score increased compared to last year?

Thanks,

You should create a PSAT helicopter parent calculator, based on the % of parents in this thread.

• Haha, the PSAT is still a big deal so I don’t fault anyone, but please, do not lose sleep over what the cutoffs will be.

26. ZJ says:

Wait, if I understand right, 2015 score % is based on 2014. 2016% is based on 2015.

So something should not that simple, right?

• ZJ says:

If % is based on same years score, 1390(96%) should be enough for commended. That means 209 is the same as last year.

• ZJ says:

96% is the commended selection cutoff from total student attended exam.

If 2016% is based on 2015. Students (with a 2016 psat 1370~1380) could equal to 96% of last year students.

last year 96% (% total attended students number) is commended cut off 209, last year equal to 1390~1400.

If population not changed, what this means? Ha Ha

27. Peter says:

My understanding is that PSAT percentiles are based on prior year scores. If I’m not mistaken, doesn’t that tell us zero about how this year’s students performed relative to each other?

• ZJ says:

Kind of like this. But still hepful if population structure not change.

If 1450 is 96%, commended cutoff should be higher than last year.

If 1300 is 96%, commended cutoff should be lower than last year.

• Yes, a few others have told me the same. I’ve retracted my prior predictions about higher cutoffs. Thanks for letting me know.

28. SunshineStateStudent says:

I was very happy to discover that your earlier alarm has been rescinded, and wanted to add my stats:
Score: 1440 (60 pts up from last year)
Index: 219 (9 pts up from last year)
I’m feeling good because the cutoff last year was 217, and FL has been pretty stable. But I guess anything could happen. I was confused about what you said in the update though- what do you mean we will know more in January? I thought the SI data release was private? Thanks.

• Last January, The College Board published a table of selection indexes and corresponding percentiles for the 2015 exam. I expect they’ll do the same this year. Whether this data is meaningful or not is another question. I’ll look into it carefully before I comment on it. By the way, congratulations on the great score and I hope 219 will be enough this year.

• SunshineStateStudent says:

Thanks so much! I hope so too 🙂

29. ZJ says:

Great!!!

Thanks a lot for the update.

30. Sean's mom says:

My son got a 221 (760 verbal and writing; 690 math). We live in VA. Any chance for NMS?

• That’s right on the cutoff for last year, so while you have a good chance, you’re on the edge. We’ll have to wait and see.

31. Jack says:

Any idea if 221 will be safe in PA? These poor kids can’t catch a break with being nervous.

• Most likely that will be safe as last year’s cutoff was 218, but we’ll have to wait and see.

32. Smith says:

My daughter got 213 in Mississippi
Is it possible for semi final?

33. Valdr Siul says:

Hello thanks for this post, however I do have one question. So will a 213 in the state of California on the PSAT most likely result in a Letter of Commendation?

34. Thomas says:

Hi Nielson,
What are the chances that this years NMSF cutoff for WA State is 2 points higher than the prediction? I got a 221, and it is predicted to be 220. Thanks

35. Thomas says:

Hi Nielson,
What are the chances that this years NMSF cutoff for WA State is 2 points higher than the prediction? I got a 221, and it is predicted to be 220. Thanks

• Hard to tell at the moment. I’ll update the calculator as soon as we have more data to go off on.

36. JZ says:

I do not see clearly how that “published percentiles are based on last year’s performance” affects this year’s cutoff, and why a prediction that this year’s cutoff will be higher should be retracted based on that information.

Only when we expect the students do not get as high scores as last year, we can expect the cutoff stays the same as last year.

I still predict a higher cutoff for this year and we will see.

• The cutoffs could definitely be higher. I’m not ruling that out. But based on the data available, we have no idea where this year’s students stand.

37. Mickey Walker says:

Hasn’t Semi-Finalist status become meaningless to the elite colleges? If I live in MA, I can get a PSAT score of 1470 and a SI of 219 and not make SF. Not only do students from other states with significantly lower scores become Semi-Finalists, but students in the SAME state with lower PSAT scores (e.g.1440) can also become SF. Hasn’t the scoring methodology become convoluted enough to be silly?

• Teacher mom says:

I think the College Board has weighted the verbal portion more for many, many years now, and, in my opinion, rightfully so. This is why students with different scores can get equal SIs. Ability in critical reading and writing is a stronger indicator of academic performance across the curriculum. Of course, as an AP English Language and Composition teacher, I’m sure I’m biased! However, generally speaking, it’s been my experience that students who are identified as gifted specifically in English tend to outperform across the board, while students with a specific learning disability in language tend to struggle more in every subject than those who are SLD in math. To me, this justifies the College Board’s weighting of the language arts portion.

• Mickey Walker says:

Really? Because the College Board score consists of half verbal, half math weighted equally. You may be thinking of the NMSQT score which is something else entirely and double counts English. Your rational for justifying this is anecdotal, consider the recent national, almost panic-stricken emphasis on STEM both in academia and the business environment. The “liberal arts” paradigm is becomming obsolete versus the hard sciences, and in my opinion rightfully so. This is why corporations import engineers and programmers from India, China and Russia, while English majors are working at Starbucks.

• All valid points, but the PSAT was never a huge factor in college admissions. The SAT/ACT and GPA are much more important. I think students are anxious about semifinalist status mainly because of the scholarship opportunities rather than the boost to their college application.

38. Milo Maher says:

Hi! I am curious as to when the official cutoffs will be made available. I scored a 221 in Texas and from what I see my chances don’t seem particularly great.

• The official cutoffs won’t be announced until September. The calculator is our best predictor for now.

39. NJ Parent says:

When you expected to have a better estimated or more educated guess for each state 2018 cutoff? Thanks.

40. Mark Watney says:

Hey. I am in class of 2018 and just received my PSAT scores. I got a 220 and live in North Carolina. How good are my chances for making semifinalist?

41. WI parent says:

Hi, what’s the chance of semifinalist with a 211 in Wisconsin? I saw that the fluctuations (converted) in previous years went back in forth from 212 to 213, and class of 2016’s cutoff was a big jump to 215…how good are my chances?

42. James Dougherty says:

Hey! My son scored a 217 in Tennessee. Last year TN cutoff for NMSF was 218. Does he still have a shot at semifinalist?

43. Jack m says:

Hi I got a 221 in NY for the PSAT NMCS score thoughts on semi finalist odds?

44. Brian H says:

I know there is no official data yet for Class of 2018, but is there anything anecdotally to indicate qualifying score movement for AZ . . up or down? My son scored 220. Last year’s cut-off was 219.

45. Rohan S says:

Is there any chance the cutoff for NC will be lower than last year?

46. Anchal says:

My daughter made a 217 in Missouri. Do you think he made the NMSF cutoff?

47. Peter says:

Do you have cutoff predictions of the Class of 2018?

48. anna c says:

Do you have cutoff predictions of the Class of 2018?

49. Jay H says:

Do you have cutoff predictions of the Class of 2018?

50. Mozer says:

What is the cut off for an expat living internationally?

51. Brooke says:

Is this page still active or is it outdated now? The chart references projections for the class of 2017 but not the class of 2018 like we see on other pages.

52. Jay H says:

The Commended Student cutoff is 211 for the class of 2018. That is up 2 points from last year’s 209
Do you have cutoff predictions of the Class of 2018?

• Thanks for letting me know. The predictions for 2018 will be up soon.

53. Parent says:

Out of curiosity, what is the rationale for predicting some states to go up one point and other states to go up two points (doesn’t seem to correspond with states that are already high, such as NJ). We are in PA with a 221 and I’m wondering how confident you are with your prediction of PA going from 218 to 220 this year. Is 221 safe? Thank you.

• My predictions are based off of trends in past data. Obviously, the past doesn’t necessarily predict the future and because such little data has been released about the new exam, any predictions should be taken with a grain of salt. Predictions on other sites have been way off while the calculator that I’ve developed has done decently well, so I’m sticking with it.

As for PA, it’s extremely unlikely the cutoff rises by 4+ points to 222+. I would consider a 221 safe.

54. AZParent says:

More recent predictions show a 221 for AZ. My son has a 220. What are his chances? Thank You!

55. ALParent says:

Do you have an idea of what would be a SAT confirming score for semi-finalists hoping to become finalists? My child got a 217 in Alabama, and has a 1420 on the SAT. Would this be high enough, or does he need to take the SAT again?

56. User000 says:

Anyone knows for NMS cutoff for Class of 2018 for Texas yet?

• kim says:

Art on Compass Education stated it was 221

57. OKparent says:

Anyone knows for NMS cutoff for Class of 2018 for Oklahoma yet?

58. Great article! We are linking to this particularly great
post on our site. Keep up the good writing.

59. daniel says:

everything over 200 = robotic nerds alert!

60. Corey S says:

My son received a selection index score of 211, which is the announced commended cutoff. He did not receive notification that he was commended and was not on the list sent to his school. How does that work? Isn’t everyone who scored a 211 commended?

• Was your son eligible for National Merit? It’s for juniors who took the PSAT/NMSQT, not the PSAT 10. I would ask the school directly why he wasn’t on the list.

• Corey S says:

Yes it was the PSAT/NMSQT. Thanks. I’ll ask.

61. John says:

Any ideas on the cut off for class of 2019 PSAT? Do you think WA state cut off will keep increasing (class of 2018 cut off was 222)? Any chance that it might go down?

62. Anne says:

Any idea when you’ll start to have predictions for the Class of 2019? Also, my D is in Colorado where they had mandatory SAT testing for the first time in Spring 2017. When Michigan did this their following PSAT scores went up 3 points from 216 to 219 (but Michigan wasn’t at the highest end of scores when it switched from ACT to SAT). Some other states that also went to mandatory SAT testing didn’t see the big bump Michigan did. Wondering where CO will come out for Class of 2019 since they switched from ACT to SAT this year. Hoping any increase is not more than 2 points. CO Class of 2017 was 218 and Class of 2018 was 220. I guess part of that depends on whether the overall scores increase again this year. My D is Class of 2019 with a 222.

63. Mike says:

I’m in the same boat as Anne. Checking your website often to see when you will make predictions for states qualifying SI scores given that College Board already released means and percentiles for the 2017 PSAT. My son also used your math book for the PSAT and didn’t miss one question.

64. John says:

When will you be able to determine the cutoff for the PSAT for the class of 2019. My son received a 222 Selection Index in California. What are the chances that this will rise this year?

65. Sam Smith says:

Anybody have any thoughts based on the results that have come out so far on possible rises or falls in the selection index. Mostly curious about Iowa.

66. Katy says:

My daughter NMSQT score of 211, and we live in VA. Is there a chance that she will be commended for her score?

67. Kathy says:

Index of 218 .