PSAT scores and NASS


10-Year Member
Aug 1, 2006
I just got my PSAT scores today and I was wondering if there is any guideline concerning about what score you would need to be competitve to get into summer seminar? I realize that test scores aren't the only thing on the application, but I was wondering if anyone knew the general trend?
I did ok, I think I could have done much better, however I was not informed prior to taking the test that like the SAT, you lose points for every wrong answer. I would have scored in the upper 60's to low 70's but because of this, I scored in the high 50's.
I am taking the January SAT, but I am not sure if the scores will come in before February 1st when the application for NASS opens.

Honestly, I'm not sure what USNA looks for in NASS candidates in terms of PSATs - but the "cutoff" (to the extent there is one) is lower than for being academically qualified for an appointment. USNA does look at other things besides your scores for NASS. Go ahead and apply and see what happens.

Also, even if you don't get accepted to NASS, that doesn't mean that your quest for an appointment is over. You have a long time before your final application is due. If your scores aren't what you would like them to be -- start doing something about it NOW. Don't wait until April or September. Start today.

If you can afford to do so, take an SAT prep course. If not, get books (it was Barron's in my day -- I'm sure there are other alternatives now including on-line programs) and study on your own. Devote one hour (or even 30 minutes) every single day to this effort. It will make a difference. Even in the "dark ages" that was my youth, I was able to raise my math score from 520 to 700 (old, old system) just by diligently working in the books. It can be done -- it just requires a lot of dedication and effort.

Consider trying the ACT. The SAT and ACT tests are quite different. The verbal on the SAT has a lot of vocab while the English section on the ACT is almost all grammar. Both math sections are fairly similar. Study the Barrons or Princeton Review prep books a lot. NOTE: for USNA only the Math and English ACT sections are considered. So, spend less time working on the science and reading on the ACT reviews.
Thank you for all of the help and support!

I wanted to apologize however, if I sounded like I was trying to pass the blame onto someone else for not telling me about losing the 1/4 point. This was not my intention at all and if I offended anyone in any way, please accept my apology.
I know I have offended my own personnal honor, because I didn't mean to make it sound like I was in the "right" and the test was in the "wrong".

So, Thank you again, and I hope you'll accept my apology.
Use Baron's

I agree with using the Baron's for SAT's. My daughter took a prep class and scored OK on her first test, but she was not happy. Her class standing is high and all her friends are competative with grades. The OK score was low relative to her friends. She took it again in March last year and did worse. I bought the Baron's books thru Amazon (less than $11 each). We spent 1/2 to 1 hr a day during the summer with me checking and her finding the mistakes. When she took it the 3rd time it went up 80 points, and it could have gone up more if we spent more time on the reading. She was thrilled. The books are great with the over view of each section and helpful to kids how can not afford a prep class.

I never saw anything that made me question your honor. It's easy to not understand the rules of a test. No apology needed.

No matter your eventual college goal, you will want to do well on the standardized tests (SAT & ACT). I suggest that you take the practice ACT in the back of the ACT application booklet that you can get from your HS counselor. It is self timed and self graded. If your score is better than your PSAT score. Consider the ACT. My son took the ACT his sophomore year and made a 27, Jr yr 28, Jr year 28, Sr yr 30. It pays to take the test more than once if you study. He took the SAT soph year and didn't do as well so he focused on the ACT.

I think you are a Jr so you have several more times to take the ACT/SAT before you will really need them for SA aplications.

Good luck!
How is Math-66 Verbal-52 for the Nass? I'm hoping to hit >700 math and >600 verbal on SATs by start of senior year.
I had 52 for both and got in (we took PSATs in 10th grade, so I was horrible at it).

They need to have regional representation, too. So if you're from the Northeast, you'll most likely get in.
Not sure why they do it that way, but I found this on their website describing who they admit to NASS:

"Selection is dependent upon the overall qualification of the student and our need to meet complete geographic representation."

Most people there were from the South and West, whereas there were only 3 people I knew of from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
My experience with some of these schools is there's a pretty big pull from California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Mass. Mass. is a pretty huge one.

Not much from VT, NH, and ME, true, but Mass and NY more than make up for it. PA isn't far behind.

Of course all that is unofficial.
My son is on a college tour today, but he had a question about the NASS application. My son's SAT scores will not be available until Feb. 14th. Should he wait to apply to NASS until those scores are available as the PSAT scores are very low. His GPA and Rank are excellent.

Another question...on the application their is a place to list if your "President or VP" of an organization. However, he is a Huddle Leader (there are no President's etc.) of FCA. He doesn't want to be dishonest, but he is a leader in this activity.
I would day apply now using his PSAT score! NASS could be full if he waits.

dont know about the application - is there a spot for "additional comments" -
Yes there is a spot for 2000 characters. Ugh. He is on this college tour and will be flying in tonight.
when i applied for West Points summer seminar last year on the first day it opened up, i was rejected because of my psat reading score. On the last day the application for nass was up i applied with my SAT scores which were higher and got in.
I know for sure that his SAT scores which will be available on Feb. 14th will be much higher. His unweighted GPA is 3.8 and his rank is 33/465. Is a varsity athlete in football and baseball. I really don't know how to advise him. His flight gets in tonight at 10:30 p.m.
A couple of things:

Don't assume the criteria for each academy is the same. It is not.
Selection is done on a rolling basis based on psat/sat's on the questionairre AND they do take geography into consideration.