The PSAT exam is the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). It is offered by College Board. This test is taken in High School. Many students take the test in Sophomore and Junior year of high school. But only Junior year scores are considered for the National Merit Scholarship. The PSAT Test is taken only once a year in October. It’s a 2 hours and 45 minutes test. PSAT Max score is 1520. The test measures a student’s skills in two core areas: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math, and is composed of three sections—Reading, Writing, and Math.

Table 1: Section of PSAT

Section Group# QuestionQuestion TypeTime (Min.)
Math48MCQ + Grid-in70
Math Calc27 + 4 = 31MCQ (27) + Grid-in (4)45
Math No Calc13 + 4 = 17MCQ (17) + Grid-in (4)25
  • Composite Scoring Section:
    • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW)
    • Math Composite

What to expect in PSAT Math?

Table 2: Math Section of PSAT

Areas in Math# of QuestionsTopics
Heart of Algebra16System of equations, Inequalities, etc.
Problem Solving and Data Analysis16Ratios, proportions, percentages, and units, etc.
Passport to Advanced Math14Polynomials, Higher-order equations, etc.
Additional Topics in Math2Data interpretation, statistics, etc.

What to expect in PSAT Reading?

Table 3: Reading Section of PSAT

Passage type# of QuestionNo. of passage
U.S. and World Literature91
History/Social Studies9 -101 or 2, 1 pair
Science9 -101 or 2, 1 pair

The multiple-choice questions for each passage type will be arranged in order from the more general to the more specific so that you can actively engage with the entire passage before answering questions about details.

Table 4: US and World Literature + History & Social studies + Science

Information and IdeasClose reading. Citing textual evidence. Determining central ideas and themesCover 35%
SummarizingUnderstanding relationships.Interpreting words and phrases in contextCover 28%
RhetoricAnalyzing word choice. Assessing overall text structure, assessing part-whole relationships. Analyzing point of view, determining purpose, analyzing arguments.Cover 17%
SynthesisAnalyzing multiple texts. Analyzing quantitative informationCover 20%

What to expect in PSAT Writing and Language?

Table 5: Writing and Language of PSAT

Subject areasPassage Topics
CareersHot topics in “major fields of work” such as information technology and healthcare
HumanitiesArts and letters
History/Social StudiesDiscussion of historical or social sciences topics such as anthropology, communication studies, economics and etc.
ScienceExploration of concepts, findings, and discoveries in the natural sciences including Earth science, biology, chemistry, and physics

The question types on the PSAT Writing and Language Test can be broadly categorized as follows:

Expression of Ideas24 questionsDevelopmentOrganization, and effective language useCover 55%
Standard English Conventions20 questionsSentence structure.Conventions of usage.Conventions of punctuationCover 45%

If you already know about PSAT and preparing for the upcoming PSAT test, then check the Socrato youtube channel for Practice Test scoring and diagnostic report.

Tagged with →