What Is the PSAT 10? - Information, Structure & Scoring

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Get the information you need to understand the PSAT 10 with this article. Find out how the test is set up, when to take it, how it is scored and ways that you can prepare.

PSAT 10 Information

The PSAT 10 test is taken by 10th grade students. It can help you decide which AP courses you should consider taking. It also provides practice for the SAT. The PSAT 10 is generally administered in the early spring. This exam is the same as the PSAT/NMSQT. However, the PSAT/NMSQT is also taken by 11th graders, it's offered during the fall and it utilizes the National Merit Scholarship Program.

PSAT 10 Structure

You will find 3 subtests on the PSAT 10:


The PSAT 10 Reading Test includes 47 multiple-choice questions. These questions will test your ability to read a passage and then successfully demonstrate that you understood what you read. Passages may be drawn from U.S. and world literature, documents related to the founding of the U.S., social science writings and science documents. Some questions involve graphics.

During this portion of the exam, you should be prepared to find evidence in different passages, pick out how the writers used facts and understand the connection between graphics and written statements. You will have up to 60 minutes to complete this section of the exam.

Writing and Language

The Writing and Language section of the PSAT 10 require you to answer 44 multiple-choice questions. This section also includes passages that you will need to read. You will then need to note mistakes you find in the written sections and choose the best answers to fix the mistakes.

You will have 35 minutes to finish this section.


In order to complete the math section of the PSAT 10, you will need to answer 48 mathematics problems. Some of these questions will be multiple-choice while others will require you to grid-in a numerical answer. You will need to demonstrate an understanding of algebra, problem solving, data analysis, advanced mathematics, geometry and trigonometry.

There are two sections to the math portion of the PSAT 10. You will be permitted to use a calculator for one, but not the other. Altogether you will have 70 minutes to complete this part of the exam.

PSAT 10 Scoring

The PSAT 10 reports your scores on the same scale used by the SAT. Using the same scoring method as the SAT allows you to develop a better idea of what your score will be when you take that exam. This means that your total score will range from 320-1520. Individual section scores (reading, math, & writing and language) can vary from 8-38 .

PSAT 10 Preparation

You can check out The College Board's website (www.collegereadiness.collegeboard.org) to find some PSAT 10 sample questions. These problems reflect the difficulty level of the exam and can help you pinpoint areas where you need to spend extra time studying.

Online courses such as this PSAT Prep Study Guide allow you to go over the subjects that will appear on the PSAT 10 in a more precise manner. You can strengthen your understanding of grammar, literary terms, mathematical operations and more. This course is full of interactive quizzes that allow you to track your progress. You can even contact expert instructors if you encounter a subject you just don't understand. This lesson on strategies for multiple-choice questions can also help you get ready for this exam by giving you the skills you need to deal with multiple choice questions.

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