PSAT Pattern

 

The PSAT, which is alternatively called NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is a standardized test administered for most 9th and 10th-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 skill of the student is measured in two core areas in the test.

They are:

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (The subsections are Reading and Writing & Language).
  • Math (The subsections are Without a Calculator and With Calculator).

The total duration of the test is 2 hours and 45 minutes. The structure of the PSAT 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 & Language 35 Minutes 44 The grammar, content, and style of the passages may contain some errors which need to be fixed through the answer choices.
Maths No Calculator  25 Minutes 17 Heart of Algebra, problem-solving and data analysis; passport to advanced math and additional math topics.
Maths Yes Calculator  45 Minutes  31 Heart of Algebra, problem-solving and data analysis; passport to advanced math and additional math topics.

 

8 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.