When you think about the PSAT, you probably think of it as a pre-SAT. While the PSAT is a great primer for the SAT (and even the ACT), it's way more than just a trial run for the real thing. More than 3.4 million high school students (mostly juniors and sophomores) take this nationwide, multiple-choice test every year.
PSAT Quick Facts
|Duration||2 hours, 45 minutes|
|Sections||Math, Evidence-Based Reading & Writing|
|Cost||Fees are paid by schools|
What is the PSAT and why is it important?
The PSAT (which stands for Preliminary SAT) won’t count towards your college admissions applications, but it is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship. (Terrified? Learn more about the National Merit Scholarship and put your mind at ease.) This means that some of the highest scoring students may win scholarship money, so while you shouldn’t stress out about the PSAT, you certainly shouldn’t ignore it either. Instead, use the PSAT as practice for the SAT and ACT and one of the starting points on your college admissions journey.
When do you take the PSAT?
The PSAT is offered nationally every year in October. Ask your school counselor about when your class is scheduled to take the PSAT.
What does the PSAT test?
As of October 2015, the PSAT has two sections: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. You’ll encounter passage-based questions—sometimes accompanied by tables, graphs, and charts—and math problems drawing upon algebra, geometry, and a little trig.
Learn more about the 2015 changes to the PSAT.
How is the PSAT scored?
Each section is scored on a scale of 160–760, making a “perfect” score 1520. But wait! There are also test scores, cross-test scores, and subscores. Learn more about PSAT scoring.
Did I get a good PSAT score?
Good question. The highest scores and percentiles earn National Merit Recognition. But PSAT scores are also useful in determining how you will prep for the SAT or ACT. For a PSAT score report consultation, call us at 800-2REVIEW.
How do I register for the PSAT?
Check with the guidance department at your school or at a school in your community to sign up.
How should I prepare?
We can help! We have PSAT prep options to fit a variety of schedules and learning styles.
Test names are the trademarks of their respective owners, who are not affiliated with The Princeton Review. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.