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The PSAT prepares students for the SAT

Adan Barrera

Dive into the nuances of the PSAT/NMSQT, a vital tool for SAT preparation and scholarship opportunities. Explore its similarities to the SAT, score ranges, and valuable feedback it provides for students. Learn how to navigate testing options and leverage this assessment for academic growth and future success.

The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) helps students prepare for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The PSAT and SAT tests are similar in format with Reading, Writing, and Language sections, but the PSAT is 2 hours and 45 minutes in duration, whereas the SAT is 3 hours in duration.

An additional version of the PSAT for eighth and ninth graders is 2 hours and 25 minutes and has 120 questions. The score range for the PSAT 8/9 is from 240 to 1440. Points are awarded for correct answers only and no points are taken away for wrong answers, therefore test takers are advised to make educated guesses on questions on which they are uncertain of the answers.

The College Board says that students who are younger than 13 may take the PSAT, but the scores will not be recorded for future purposes. On their website it states, “Anyone can take the SAT. But the rules are a little different if you are: 12 years old or younger or in eighth grade or lower, regardless of your age.” They also mention that, “If you test in the eighth grade or below, your scores are removed from your file at the end of the academic year you tested. If you want your scores to be part of your permanent record, you must let us know before August of the year you tested.”

Besides helping students to prepare for the SAT, the PSAT also gives feedback on a student’s strengths and weaknesses in skills necessary for college or other post-secondary opportunities.

Spring testing is available from February 26, 2018 to April 27, 2018. For homeschoolers, your specific test date in this timeframe can be determined by going onto the College Board website and doing a search on the Public Search page at the College Board website.

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