Preparing for the PSAT

The PSAT is right around the corner; here is everything you need to know



The table attached shows the amount of time allotted and the number of questions per section

The PSAT (Preliminary SAT) is a two-hour and 45-minute standardized test that consists of three sections: Reading, Writing and Language and Math. This year the test will be held Saturday, Oct. 15, at 8 a.m.

The PSAT was initially designed as a practice test for high school juniors to prepare for the SAT in the spring. The test is supposed to help students learn their strengths and weaknesses to help determine which subjects to focus their preparations on. Although created for juniors, both freshmen and sophomores are allowed to take the test as well. 

The CollegeBoard is strict on what you can and cannot bring into the testing area. Make sure to double-check that your items are on the approved list of materials; a face covering, in case your test center requires one, a No. 2 pencil with erasers (recommended to bring two or three), and finally, an approved calculator (most graphing calculators)

There is also a list of items that, while not mandatory, are nice to have while testing; a watch (not a smartwatch), a drink or snacks (for breaks) and breakfast before the test.

While there is a list of materials you should bring to the PSAT, there is also a list of prohibited items; mobile phones, any wearable technology, audio players, recorders, laptops, Bluetooth devices, separate timers of any type, any other photographic equipment, pens, highlighters, mechanical or colored pencils, any reference material of any kind, compasses, rulers, protractors, cutting devices, any additional papers, earplugs and weapons or firearms

The total test score can range anywhere from 320 to 1500. Each of the two section scores, Language and Math, is in the range of 160 to 760. According to CollegeBoard, the average PSAT score is 920. A score between 1210 and 1500 puts one in the top 10% of test takers.

There are many different scholarships available and opportunities to earn money for college tuition specifically for the juniors who take the PSAT. Awards include the National Merit Scholarship Program, National Scholarship Service, and the Telluride Seminar Scholarships. To be recognized as a National Merit Scholar, a student needs to test in the top 1% of their state.

Accessing scores requires creating and logging into a CollegeBoard account. Students can expect scores on Dec. 5-6, 2022. For more information, go to the PSAT homepage of the CollegeBoard website