PSAT/NMSQT College Board

Registration & Dates

The 2014 PSAT/NMSQT test dates are Wednesday, October 15 and Saturday, October 18. You must sign up for the PSAT/NMSQT at your high school or at another high school in your community. Please note that the test takes place during the shortened Columbus Day holiday week and the Jewish holiday of Sukkoth. This test is administered by high schools, not through test centers. Online registration for the PSAT/NMSQT is not available. Please note that each high school chooses only one October test date.

If you would like to take the PSAT/NMSQT, contact your high school counselor or principal to find out about registering for the test, paying the test fees, and learning the correct date, time, and location that your school will give the test in October. Also, contact your guidance office for a copy of the Official Student Guide to the PSAT/NMSQT to help you prepare before test day.

If you are registered to take the test, but are unable to do so due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances, follow these instructions (also found on page 5 of the Official Student Guide to the PSAT/NMSQT).

National Merit Scholarship Information

‚ÄčpsatPreliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)
This test is practice for the SAT Reasoning Test. Many students take the PSAT more than once, because test scores tend to increase with a repetition and because students generally become more comfortable with the test each time. During a student's junior year, the PSAT is also used as a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program as well as other national scholarship programs.

While the PSAT includes a writing skills section, it does not include a written essay, which is part of the SAT Reasoning Test.

Test Duration
Total test time is two hours and 10 minutes. This includes two 25-minute sections of critical reading, tow 25-minute sections of mathematics, an done 30-minute section of writing.

Skills Tested
The critical-reading section tests extended reasoning, literal comprehension, and vocabulary in context. The mathematics section tests algebra and functions; geometry and measurement; and data analysis, statistics, and probability. The writing section tests grammar, usage, and word choice.

The critical reading sections use sentence completions and passage-based readings.  There are approximately 50 questions in the two sections.

The mathematics sections uses multiple-choice and student-produced responses.  There are approximately 40 questions in the 2 sections.

The writing section uses multiple-choice questions that include improving responses, identifying sentence errors, and improving paragraphs.  There are approximately 40 questions in the section.

Additional Information
Like the SAT, the PSAT uses a negative scoring system in which a student loses a fraction of a point for each incorrect answer.  Because students have been trained for years and years to answer every question on a test, the PSAT and SAT present a special challenge to many. Teaching them how to recognize questions they should skip is an imperative part of the preparation for this test.

For more information about the PSAT, visit the web site.