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PSAT Pattern

The PSAT, which is alternatively called NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is a standardised test administered for most 8th grade students. It is basically a ‘preliminary SAT’ exam via which students get a fair idea of the format, types of questions, content and timeline they are going to encounter during the  SAT. Besides, the PSAT also helps in qualifying for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

 

Test Format, Structure and Types of Questions of PSAT

Since 2015, the students are being tested on the basis of a redesigned PSAT pattern. The new format also constitutes test reasoning skills focusing more on the development of knowledge and understanding, which is important for the success of any high school student. The new format emphasises on the contextual meaning of a word and how a choice of word can shape tone, meaning and impact. The skill of the student is measured in two core areas in the test.

 

They are:

  • Evidence Based Reading and Writing (The sub sections are Reading and Writing)
  • Math (The sub sections are With Calculator and Without Calculator)

 

The total duration of the test is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The breakdown is as follows:

Section Sub Section Total Testing Time and Breakdown Number of Questions Content / Skills Covered
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Reading 60 Minutes 47 The passages on this section are taken from World or US literature, History/Social studies, Social Science and Science.
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Writing 35 Minutes 44 The grammar, content and the style of the passages may contain some errors which need to be fixed through the answer choices.
Maths With Calculator 45 Minutes 48 Heart of Algebra, problem solving and data analysis; passport to advanced math and additional math topics.
Maths Without Calculator 25 Minutes 48 Heart of Algebra, problem solving and data analysis; passport to advanced math and additional math topics.

 

10 questions on the Math section require students to fill in responses; all other questions on the PSAT are multiple-choice questions with 4 answer choices per question.