If you’ve already taken the PSAT or are in the middle of your PSAT test prep, you’re probably curious about those numbers that are going to show up on your results. It’s fine to be wondering about your test scores and what they mean, because that means you care about how you did.

To help you understand your test scores as you start PSAT test prep, here’s an in-depth look at the way the scores work.

What will the PSAT score look like?

You’ll actually get three scores total, one for each section: critical reading, math, and writing. Your scores in each will range from 20 to 80 (and the average score for a high school junior is 50). Then below each of these section scores, you’ll see a range of possible scores that you could get if you do not study or practice for the SAT. You’ll also be given a sum total (selection index, or SI) of all your section scores, as well as percentiles so you can see how you compared to other students.

How do I interpret these scores?

Basically, if you’re getting around 50 or higher in each section, that means you’re on track in high school and well on your way to college. But the PSAT score tells you more than that.

Let’s say you got a score of 46 on the math section, and your range listed below that is 40-55. Since the PSAT scores directly relate to the SAT (by adding a “0” to the end), this means you’re likely to get a score on the math section of the SAT that’s anywhere from 400-550. Your SI score can also be directly converted into an SAT score by adding a “0” to the end.

As for percentiles, let’s say your percentile is 70% for critical reading; that means you did better than 70% of other students who took the PSAT.

Why do my scores matter?

Lots of reasons! The higher the score, the more likely you’ll get into top-tier colleges or win a National Merit Scholarship (which is based on your SI score). Also, as mentioned above, your score indicates how well you’ll do on the SAT. So your PSAT scores matter quite a bit!

If you’ve already taken your PSAT, rest assured that you won’t be confused looking at your test scores when you get them. However, if you still haven’t taken the test yet, try looking into PSAT test prep classes to help you feel more prepared and more ready to get those test scores back.