The PSAT® at a Glance

The PSAT/NMSQT (or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is a preliminary version of the SAT. The test is 2 hours and 10 minutes long and divided into 5 sections testing your skills in Math, Critical Reading, and Writing. Each section on the PSAT has a scaled score from 20-80 points.

Not only is the PSAT great practice for taking the SAT or ACT, a great score can also open the door to National Merit Scholarships and other awards.

Section Length Question Type
Math Two, 25-minute sections 28 Multiple Choice
10 Grid-Ins
Critical Reading Two, 25-minute sections 13 Sentence Completions
35 Reading Comprehension
Writing One, 30-minute section 14 Identifying Sentence Errors
20 Improving Sentences
5 Improving Paragraphs

The PSAT Critical Reading Section

Many students fear the PSAT Math Section more than any other. But there is no reason to feel that way. Just like the other sections, there are proven strategies for approaching the different kinds of math questions.

On the test, you'll see two question types: Multiple-Choice and Student Produced Responses (or Grid-Ins). Questions are arranged to gradually increase in difficulty, focusing on the topics of numbers and operations, Algebra I, functions, and Geometry … Learn more.

The PSAT Math Section

The PSAT Critical Reading component is designed to test skills in vocabulary, reasoning, and reading. It uses two distinct question types: Sentence Completions and Reading Comprehension … Learn more.

The PSAT Writing Section

The PSAT Writing Section tests your ability to improve sentences, identify sentence errors, and improve paragraphs. The Identifying Sentence Errors and Improving Sentences questions are based on single, unrelated sentences on a variety of topics. The Improving Paragraph questions are based on a brief passage … Learn more.

Your PSAT Score

On the PSAT, you'll receive a scaled score from 20–80 points on each section of the test. Average scores across the country range in the low-to-mid 40s for sophomores and the high 40s for juniors … Learn more.