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About the PSAT

The Preliminary SAT, also known as the PSAT/NMSQT® (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), is a preparatory version of the SAT exam. You can only take the PSAT once per year, and most students take the test in both 10th and 11th grade. If you earn a high score on the PSAT your junior year, you could qualify to receive a National Merit Scholarship—$180 million dollars in merit scholarships are awarded to students each year! Testing your skills in reading, writing, and math, the PSAT is 2 hours and 45 minutes long. Unlike the SAT, the highest score possible on the PSAT is 1520.

Here’s how the test breaks down:


Evidence-based reading

60 Minutes

Approx. 48 Questions

World Literature, Social Studies/History, Science

Writing & Language

35 Minutes

44 Questions

Expression of Ideas, Standard English Conventions

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25 Minutes (no calculator)

45 Minutes (with calculator)

47 Questions

Algebra, Data Analysis & Problem Solving, Advanced Math

Scoring the test

PSAT scoring is complex. Your score will range from 320 to 1520 and is calculated by combining your scores on the Reading, Writing & Language, and Math tests. There is no penalty for wrong answers, so it’s always better to guess if you’re not sure. Find out what makes a good PSAT score.

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