The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a standardized test administered by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Most high-schoolers are given the test at school in the 10th and 11th grades.
For many students, the PSAT is simply an introduction to and a way to get ready for the SAT. There are a lot of parallels between the PSAT and SAT: both tests have the same three sections (Math, Critical Reading, and Writing Skills), and both tests use the same scoring system (1 point awarded for a correct answer, 0 points for a question omitted, and 0.25 points lost for a question answered wrong). Each section gets scored on a 20-80 scale, which is roughly comparable to the SAT’s 200-800 scale. And both tests cover similar topics, in a similar style, with similar time constraints.
The PSAT is a shorter test, taking two hours and ten minutes to complete. Unlike the SAT, the PSAT does not include higher-level mathematics, such as concepts from Algebra II, or an essay in its writing section.
For some high-scoring students, the PSAT is the first step in the National Merit Scholarship Program, which can lead to scholarships underwritten by corporations and business organizations, colleges and universities, and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
Whether or not you’re aiming for these scholarships, we have all the tools you need to get ready for the PSAT, and later the SAT. This includes a large collection of past official PSATs, our own specially designed course materials, and our highly experienced coaches. Learn more about these course components on our SAT page.