Any student who wishes to take the exam, and is not a sophomore or junior, may do so as space allows for $16

About PSAT/NMSQT:   (taken directly from the College Board). For more information, including preparation activities, go to this link

The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a program cosponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It's a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT®. It also gives you a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools.

The PSAT/NMSQT measures:

  • Critical reading skills
  • Math problem-solving skills
  • Writing skills

You have developed these skills over many years, both in and out of school. This test doesn't require you to recall specific facts from your classes.

The most common reasons for taking the PSAT/NMSQT are to:

  • Receive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study. You can then focus your preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice.
  • See how your performance on an admissions test might compare with that of others applying to college.
  • Enter the competition for scholarships from NMSC (grade 11).
  • Help prepare for the SAT. You can become familiar with the kinds of questions and the exact directions you will see on the SAT.
  • Receive information from colleges when you check "yes" to Student Search Service.

What's on the PSAT

The PSAT/NMSQT includes five sections:

Two 25-minute critical reading sections
Two 25-minute math sections
One 30-minute writing skills section

The whole test requires two hours and 10 minutes.

Critical Reading

Two 25-minute critical reading sections = 48 questions


Two 25-minute math sections = 38 questions

Students are advised to bring a calculator with which they are comfortable. Students should have basic knowledge of 4 math categories:

  • Numbers and Operation
  • Algebra and Functions (but not 3rd year level math that may appear on the new SAT)
  • Geometry and Measurement
  • Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability

Writing Skills

One 30-minute writing section = 39 questions

These multiple-choice questions on writing skills measure a student's ability to express ideas effectively in standard-written English, to recognize faults in usage and structure, and to use language with sensitivity to meaning.

Scores & Review

Information on the Score Report

PSAT/NMSQT scores are reported on a scale of 20 to 80. In 2011, the average score for eleventh graders was about 48 in Critical Reading, 49 in Mathematics, and 46 in Writing Skills. The average score for tenth graders was about 43 in Critical Reading, 43 in Mathematics, and 41 in Writing Skills.

Also listed on your score report is the Selection Index, which is used to determine eligibility in National Merit Scholarship Corporation programs (NMSC). It is the sum of the three scores in each test section (CR + M + W). The Selection Index ranges from 60 to 240. The average Selection Index for students in eleventh grade is about 143. Note: Only students in eleventh grade are eligible to enter NMSC scholarship programs.

Finally, score reports include national percentiles, which allow you to compare your scores with other students in your grade level who have taken the PSAT/NMSQT. If you take the PSAT/NMSQT in the eleventh grade, you receive junior percentiles. If you take the PSAT/NMSQT in tenth grade or younger, you will receive sophomore percentiles. For example, a student in eleventh grade with a percentile of 55 has earned a score better than 55 percent of all eleventh graders. Another way to understand percentiles is to imagine 100 students lined up from the lowest (or 1st) percentile at the end of the line to the highest (or 99th) percentile at the front of the line. If you are at the 55th percentile, you would be the 56th person in line, ahead of 55 people in the line and behind 44. Go to Score Report Plus for more information about your score report.

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