PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It is a co-sponsored program by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).
It is a standardized test that provides practice for the SAT. It also gives you a chance to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs.
The PSAT/NMSQT measures:
critical reading skills
math problem-solving skills
What is on the PSAT?
The PSAT/NMSQT has five sections: Two critical reading sections, two math sections and one writing skills section
The whole test requires two hours and 10 minutes.
Critical Reading Section
Two 25-minute critical reading sections with a total of 48 questions
13 Sentence completions
35 Critical reading questions
Two 25-minute math sections with a total of 38 questions
28 multiple-choice math questions
10 Student-produced responses or grid-ins
You will be tested in these 4 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
You are allowed to use a calculator.
Writing Skills Section
One 30-minute writing section with a total of 39 questions
14 Identifying sentence errors
20 Improving sentences
5 Improving paragraph questions
These multiple-choice questions will test your ability to express ideas effectively in standard-written English, to recognize faults in usage and structure, and to use language with sensitivity to meaning. (Note that essay writing is not included)
This test is given by high schools in October. Your school counselor can help you sign up for the test. Many students take the test during their sophomore and junior years, but only test scores from their junior year are used for scholarship competitions. Ask your school counselor for a copy of the PSAT/NMSQT Student Bulletin, which includes a complete practice test.
Do I need to write an essay in the PSAT?
No. Unlike the SAT, the PSAT does not have an essay writing section.
However, if you happen to be semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship then you would need to write an essay (among other things) to qualify as a finalist.
Extracted from nationalmerit.org.
"How does a Semifinalist become a Finalist?
Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements, which are provided in materials they receive with their scholarship application and are also listed in the PSAT/NMSQT ® Official Student Guide. These include completing an application, having a consistently very high academic record, writing an essay, being endorsed and recommended by a school official, and taking the SAT ® and earning a score that confirms the PSAT/NMSQT performance."
We welcome your feedback, comments and questions about this site - please submit your feedback via our Feedback page.