PSAT – Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test
NMQST – National Merit Scholastic Qualifying Test
PSAT is a standardized test taken in the United States that is administered by the College board. PSAT is cosponsored by (NMQST) National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Around 3.5 million students appear in PSAT/NMQST exam annually. The scores of students usually determine their eligibility of getting a scholarship in NMQST program. PSAT preparation also prepares you for the SAT.
Why is PSAT important?
With more than $180 Million reserved for NMQST scholarships, PSAT remains no more a practice test. A good PSAT score can pay you a lot. Even if you don’t get the scholarship it would be one of the best methods for SAT/ACT preparation. Many students don’t study for the PSAT exam, so giving some time to it would help you score better than your fellows and get the benefit.
Format of the PSAT and Details of the Exam
The test is 165 minutes long. Your skills would be tested in 3 main sections.
1. Reading – 60 minutes
With 47 questions and 60 minutes duration Evidence-Based Reading section is the longest section in the PSAT. 5 passages have to be read in this time duration as well. The topics of the passages are World Literature, Social Studies/History, and Science. You would be tested on your ability to deduce meaning from the words or texts.
2. Writing – 35 minutes
Covering 20 sections, the writing, and language section is 35 minutes long where you have to approximately read four 400 word long passages. The section requires you to spot errors and properly identify them.
3. Math – 25 min with calculator & 40 min without calculator
With a total of 47 questions that have to be done in 90 minutes, students hardly get 90 seconds for each question. Algebra, Geometry, and some Trigonometry are the main areas where you would be tested.
AOL’s Tip: While you read the passages, ask questions from yourself and answer them. This would give you a better understanding of the passage and you would be able to answer all the questions in time. Time is a big issue. Many students fail to complete the exam on time. Maths have multi-step problems, read the question carefully. Don’t rush!
When is PSAT offered?
It is offered once annually. This year the test day is 19-October. It is usually offered every October. To see the PSAT test dates and when the PSAT scores would be available for the 2015 exam and 2016, Follow the link below.
PSAT practice & PSAT prep
There are private academies and some YouTube channels that will guide you in your SAT. Teachers are also available for this purpose. Your counselor would guide you a better teacher if your school isn’t offering any. Whereas, students can get free practice from Khan Academy by taking the SAT lectures and tests. The questions in SAT and PSAT are not so different, the video lectures that may help you as SAT study guide.