Congratulations on taking the initiative to prepare for the PSAT/NMSQT! The format and content of the PSAT/NMSQT is almost the same as the SAT, so a great way to start your practice is to use our official SAT practice on Khan Academy. Not sure what the PSAT/NMSQT® is actually about? Read on!
There are actually three different PSAT exams:
The first two tests are designed for the grade levels indicated by their names. Learn more about the PSAT 8/9 here, and the PSAT 10 here. The third test is the same assessment as the PSAT 10—and, as its name implies, it’s not just a preliminary SAT. NMSQT stands for National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Top scores on this test have the potential to qualify students not only for the National Merit® Scholarship Program but also for substantial scholarships at many different colleges.
If you are interested in learning more about the NMSQT timeline and qualifying process, take a look at The Official Student Guide to the PSAT/NMSQT.
Use Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy
The good news is that the PSAT/NMSQT is designed as an introduction to the SAT, so if you work diligently and master the SAT prep materials offered by Khan Academy and College Board, you will be more than prepared to succeed on the PSAT/NMSQT.
Take a practice PSAT/NMSQT test
There are many different ways to prepare. If you want to check out the test format and try a few questions, you can download an official practice PSAT/NMSQT exam and the scoring form. Once you score your test, you can also download the answer explanations for the test's questions.
You can also use the College Board's Daily Practice for the SAT app to scan and score your paper answer sheet for Practice PSAT 1. It does not yet work properly for Practice PSAT 2.
Using the app, you can take a photo of your answer sheet and instantly get your score and new practice recommendations on Khan Academy.
Here are the two full-length, official practice tests to print, plus the paper answer sheet.
If you are already familiar with the structure of the new SAT, the PSAT/NMSQT will feel familiar to you. Just like the new SAT, the revised PSAT/NMSQT focuses on college and career readiness, and it echoes the same knowledge and skills tested by the redesigned SAT. The test also follows a similar format as the SAT and is also two hours and 45 minutes long. The content is broken into three sections:
Math (48 questions)
Reading (47 questions)
Writing (44 questions)
When to take the PSAT
The PSAT/NMSQT is administered by local education institutions in October of each year. In 2016, the exam will be offered on Wednesday, October 19th. (Some schools will test on Saturday, October 15th, and the alternate day is Wedesday, November 2.) If you are in a homeschooling or other nontraditional program, you should contact the test coordinator at a local high school of your choice during the spring of your sophomore year.