PSAT/NMSQT & PSAT 10 AND PSAT 8/9 Exams

Get ready for the PSAT with our PSAT Prep Book.

The PSAT/NMSQT & PSAT 10 are practically the same exam, offered at different times of the year.

PSAT/NMSQT is offered in the fall for 10th and 11th graders, while PSAT is offered in the spring for 10th graders. PSAT 8/9 is offered fall through spring for 8th and 9th graders. All exams are administered at the middle/high school locations.

Special accommodations are available for students who have a condition that requires them. It is important to make this request and get approval. It typically takes seven weeks to have this request processed, so start early.

Keep in mind that you must get approval before using any accommodations. Using accommodations without prior approval will result in your scores being canceled.

Extended test time, additional breaks, large font or Braille test books, permission to eat food or drink a beverage because of the medical condition, or take medication related to the condition, are some of the accommodations that can be provided.

What subjects are covered on the PSAT/NMSQT & PSAT 10 Exams? How many questions are there for each subject?

There are 47 questions for the Reading test. These questions are multiple-choice and based on passages.

The questions on the Reading test will include a passage from classic or contemporary work, passage(s) from U.S. founding document or text from Great Global Conversation, selection from social science, and two science passages.

This test will assess command of evidence, words in context, and analysis in social studies/history and science.

There are 44 questions for the Writing and Language test. These questions are multiple-choice and based on passages.

The questions on the Writing and Language test will include passages from careers, history, social studies, humanities, and science.

In addition to the areas of assessment for the Reading section, this test will also assess expression of ideas and standard English conventions.

There are 48 questions for the Math test. Most of the questions are multiple-choice, but there will also be some grid-ins. A calculator can be used for some questions, but not for others.

The questions on the Math test will be on the heart of Algebra, problem solving & data analysis, advanced math, geometry, and trigonometry.

This test will assess fluency, understanding concepts, and applications.

What subjects are covered on the PSAT 8/9 Exam? How many questions are there for each subject?

For PSAT 8/9, the Reading test, there are 42 questions that follow the same format as the Reading test of PSAT/NMSQT & PSAT 10.

The Writing and Language test consists of 40 multiple-choice questions based on passages.

The questions are with regard to reading entire contexts, and interpreting graphics.

In addition to the areas of assessment for the Reading section, this test will also assess expression of ideas and standard English conventions.

The 38 questions of the Math test will be like the Math test of the PSAT/NMSQT & PSAT 10 in that most will be multiple-choice, with some grid-ins. Also, the use of a calculator will be permitted on some questions, but not on others.

The questions on the Math test will be on the heart of Algebra, problem solving & data analysis, and advanced math.

This test will assess fluency, understanding concepts, and applications.

How long does the exam last?

You will have 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete the PSAT/NMSQT & PSAT 10, and 2 hours and 25 minutes to complete the PSAT 8/9.

How much do the exams cost?

The PSAT/NMSQT & PSAT 10 cost approximately $15, and the PSAT 8/9, approximately $11. Many schools cover a partial amount or total cost of the exam.

What should I do the day of the exam?

Bring two Number 2 pencils, approved calculator, and school or government-issued ID.

The only items you may have on your desk are pencils, test book, answer sheet, and calculator (when allowed).

Some of the items you are not allowed to bring on test day, are a smartwatch, food/drink compass or protractor, highlighter, or paper. Additionally, not only are you not allowed to bring or use your phone, doing so could cause you to be dismissed from the test or invalidate your test scores.

What happens after I take the exam?

Your school, and in some cases district and state will receive your scores. Some schools also send a paper copy directly to your parents. Your scores will not be sent to colleges.

For the PSAT/NMSQT Exam, your scores will also automatically be sent to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, National Hispanic Recognition Program, National Scholarship Service, and Telluride Seminar Scholarships. You may opt out of this if you would like.

What is the minimum passing score on the exams?

There is no score that indicates whether you have passed or failed the exam. The purpose of these exams is to assess your readiness for college, and give feedback on skills that you can work on if it is determined that you are lacking in some areas.

Having said that, the score scale for the PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 is 160 – 760. The score scale for the PSAT 8/9 is 120 – 720.

As part of your score report, you will receive a percentile rank between 1 and 99. This rank compares your scores to other students who took the exam. For example, if you are in the 82nd percentile rank, that means you scored higher than or equal to 82% of other students.