The PSAT is a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT. It also gives you a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and to gain access to college and career planning tools.
The most common reasons for taking the PSAT/NMSQT are to:
The test is divided into five sections, each of which falls into one of three topics: Reading, Math, or Writing.
The first and third sections of the test are Reading, the second and fourth are Math, and the final section is Writing. Unlike the SAT, there is no experimental section and no Essay.Back to the Top
The timings for both the standard PSAT and the extended-time PSAT are shown in the table below.
|Reading Sections (1 and 3)||25 minutes apiece||38 minutes apiece|
|Math Sections (2 and 4)||25 minutes apiece||38 minutes apiece|
|Writing Section (5)||30 minutes||45 minutes|
|Total Time||2 hours, 10 minutes||3 hours, 15 minutes|
High schools administer the PSAT/NMSQT on a Wednesday or Saturday in October .
You must sign up for the test at your high school. The test is administered by high schools, not through testing centers. Online registration for the PSAT is not available. If you want to take the PSAT, contact your own high school counselor to find about registering for the tests, paying test fees, and learning the correct date, time, and location at which your school will give the test.Back to the Top
The fee for the PSAT/NMSQT is $14. (Note: Schools sometimes charge an additional fee to cover administrative costs.) The College Board makes fee waivers available to schools for eleventh-grade students from low-income families who can't afford the test fee. See your counselor for more information about fee waivers.Back to the Top
Obtaining extended time for the PSAT is a multi-step process. If you want extended time, you should begin by talking to your school counselor. Additional information can be found on the College Board PSAT Accommodations page.Back to the Top
There are three sections on the test: Reading, Math, and Writing. For each section, the student will be given a score from 20 to 80. These section scores will then be combined to give the composite score, which ranges from 60 to 240. These are known as the scaled scores.
The scaled scores are based on the raw scores for each section. The raw score for a section is calculated by taking the number of correct answers and subtracting one quarter of the number of incorrect answers. This score will then be compared to those of other test takers to obtain the scaled score.
There are a couple of things to take note of. First, unlike the SAT, the PSAT contains no essay, so the Writing score is based solely on multiple choice Writing questions. Also, there are Math section questions called "Student-Produced Response Questions" which do not count against the student if answered incorrectly.Back to the Top
Up-to-date information on the most recent average PSAT scores can be found on this website.Back to the Top
Score reports are mailed to your high school in December. Each school makes its own decisions on how and when to distribute the scores. Scores are not available via phone or online.Back to the Top
There are several things you MUST bring with you to the test:
In addition to these required items, you should also bring:
The following items are not allowed, and should be left in the car or at home: