About The PSAT
While the redesigned PSAT/NMSQT (or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), a preliminary version of the SAT, is not counted on college applications for admission, it is much more than a practice test.
Students qualify for the elite ranking of National Merit Scholarship Finalist, National Achievement Scholarship Finalist, or Commended Scholar via their PSAT scores. Success on the PSAT can be a mark of distinction, elevating the competitive candidacy of the student as well as providing the possibility for scholarship funding. What’s more, an effective PSAT preparation course lays the foundation for subsequent success on the SAT and ACT.
A new version of the PSAT was launched in October 2015 in order to be fully aligned with the new SAT, which is debuting in March 2016. The SAT was redesigned in order to assess more directly those skills most relevant to college and career readiness.
Schools administer the PSAT/NMSQT in October. Online registration is not available – students need to sign up for the test with their high school counselor. The dates for the 2016 test are yet to be determined.
Test Format and Structure
|Section||Time||Number of Questions||Content Covered|
|Evidence-Based Reading and Writing||Reading: 60 minutes|
Writing and Language: 35 minutes
|Reading: 47 multiple-choice questions based on passages.|
Writing and Language: 44 multiple-choice questions based on passages.
|Reading: Analysis, words in context, and command of evidence.
Writing and Language: Expression of ideas, words in context, and command of evidence.
-Grammar, usage, diction, sentence structure, idiomatic expressions.
|Math||70 minutes |
Calculator portion: 45 minutes
No calculator: 25 minutes
|48 questions |
Calculator: 27 multiple-choice questions and 4 student-produced response problems.
No Calculator: 13 multiple-choice questions and 4 student-produced response problems.
|-Problem Solving and Data Analysis (ratios, proportions, statistical concepts)
-Heart of Algebra (linear equations, inequalities, and relationships)
-Passport to Advanced Math (non-linear equations)
-Additional topics (angles, triangles, area, volume).
Each section is scored between 160 to 760, for a possible score range of 320 to 1520.
Because there is no penalty for incorrect answers, students should guess even if it means filling in random answer choices.