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PSAT stands for Preliminary Scholastic Aptitute Test.  NMSQT stands for National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.The PSAT is a practice version of the SAT and a great strategic benchmark for your standardized test prep plan.  PSAT is administered one time per year at the beginning of October. Students can opt to take this test in 10th and 11th grade. 

Earning a high score in your Junior year can qualify you to receive a national merit scholarship. The National Merit Scholarship Program is a national academic competition for recognition and scholarships. Each year’s PSAT/NMSQT is the qualifying test designated for entry to a particular year’s competition. For example, the 2022 PSAT/NMSQT is the qualifying test for entry to the competition for scholarships to be awarded in 2024. All PSAT/NMSQT scores are automatically sent to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation to qualify as a semi-finalist for an award. Registration for the test is by high school rather than individual students. Interested students should see their counselor at the beginning of the school year to make arrangements to take the PSAT/NMSQT. PSAT 8/9 and 10 are not considered for entry into the National Merit Scholarship Program. 

Students do not generally prepare for the PSAT, but it is used as a learning tool for future study for the SAT. The PSAT and SAT are structured and scored the same way. The PSAT score will give students an indication of how they will perform on the SAT. The PSAT score is helpful in preparing for the SAT by highlighting areas of strengths and weaknesses.


  • Duration: 2 hrs 45 mins
  • Highest score is a 1520
  • 25 mins math no calculator
  • 45 minutes calculator allowed
  • 60 mins evidence-based reading 
  • 35 mins writing and language