Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)
The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) is a multiple-choice and grid-in test taken on paper. As the precursor to the SAT, it’s also a great way to get a preview of that suite of tests.
The PSAT 8/9 is split into three sections: reading, writing, and math. The entire test takes around two and a half to three hours.
This section is 55 minutes long and contains 42 questions that assess reading comprehension and understanding of meaning. These questions are multiple-choice analyses of written passages, asking you to interpret their arguments or intent.
This section is 30 minutes long and contains 40 questions that assess writing and editing skills. These questions are multiple-choice analyses of sentences and passages, asking you to correct errors and improve weak points.
This section is 60 minutes long and contains 38 questions that assess qualitative skills. These questions are multiple-choice and grid-in evaluations of algebraic equations, graphs, and real-world math problems. One half of this section includes the use of a calculator while the other does not.
Results from the PSAT 8/9 will include scores for each section on a range of 6–36, as well as a composite score for the whole test on a range of 240–1440.
If you’d like a sense of what to expect on the PSAT 8/9, you can find resources on the College Board Website. There are also many sample tests and practice guides available both online and in print.
- Don’t panic! Remember, this is a test designed for older students and you are not expected to know all the answers. If you feel stressed, take a moment to relax. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing.
- If you get stuck, don’t be afraid to guess—there’s no penalty for wrong answers on the PSAT. If you don’t have enough time to finish, use the last minute of each test section to fill in any remaining answers.
- If you have extra time, go back and check your answers. Trust your instincts, though—only change your answers if you are certain you got them wrong the first time.
U.S. and international students: $38 USD