How Long is the PSAT Test?

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
The PSAT is a standardized test that prepares college-bound high school students for the SAT. Read on to learn about the structure, timing, and content of this exam.

PSAT Length and Structure

The PSAT takes a total of 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete. It comprises three timed sections that measure a student's knowledge in key subject areas.

SectionTime Allowed Questions Description
Writing and Language 35 minutes 44 multiple-choice Critiquing, editing, and interpreting written passages
Reading60 minutes 47 multiple-choice Reading comprehension and interpretation of graphics
Math 70 minutes 48 multiple-choice and grid-in Algebra, geometry, trigonometry, problem solving, data analysis and complex equations

PSAT Administration and Scoring

The exam is administered as both the PSAT 10, which is entirely preparatory for high school sophomores, and the PSAT/NMSQT, which both prepares sophomores and juniors for the SAT and is used by college scholarship programs to determine eligible students. Both exams will be administered at the students' schools, in the spring and the fall respectively. On test day, students should remember to bring two No. 2 pencils and an approved calculator that can be used during the math section.

Scores and Score Reports

Students can expect their scores about two months after test day, and will receive a score report with a total score of the three sections, as well as detailed scores of the individual Writing and Language, Reading and Math sections. Score reports will also indicate if the student is on track for being college-ready, as well as specific grade-level benchmarks that are being met and that need more work. Reports also include tips for improving skills and increasing scores, so students can begin preparing for the SAT.

PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT scores will also be available to schools, and may be sent to school districts or states. Among other scholarship and recognition programs, The National Merit Scholarship Corporation will review PSAT/NMSQT scores for available academic scholarships.

PSAT Prep Resources

Because the PSAT section tests are individually timed, it is important for students studying for the exam to not only fully understand the test's content, but also practice time management when preparing for the PSAT. To master self-pacing for the test, students may utilize free practice tests provided by the College Board, which administers the PSAT. Students are advised to take practice tests within PSAT section time restrictions in order to become familiar with how quickly they will have to work to complete each section on test day.

Online Video Lessons

Taking practice exams also helps students identify weaknesses in various areas. To help students master those concepts, offers the PSAT Prep: Practice and Study Guide guide. Students can also check out the following courses, which will help to increase skills in specific subject areas:

These engaging and flexible courses feature short, self-paced video lessons that cover all aspects of the PSAT's key subject matter. Students can utilize the self-assessment quizzes to gauge their understanding of each lesson and take chapter exams and practice tests to close out their study of the materials.

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