PSAT Test Dates

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
Depending on your grade level, you can take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholar Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), the PSAT 10, or the PSAT 8/9. Read on for more information on when you can take the PSAT, which test option is right for you and how to prepare for the PSAT.

When Can I Take the PSAT ?

The PSAT/NMSQT is offered on specific dates during the fall semester while the PSAT 10 and PSAT 8/9 are offered in testing windows. For example, the dates for these exams in 2017 are as follows:

Test Dates
PSAT/NMSQT October 11, October 14, or October 25
PSAT 10 Early spring
PSAT 8/9 September 25 through January 26, 2018
February 26, 2017 through April 27, 2018

Be sure to check for updated information on the College Board website. All PSAT exams can be taken at your school. For tests that feature a testing window, each school will select the date that works for them, so check with your school officials for more information.

Which Test is Right for Me?

The PSAT/NMSQT and the PSAT 10 are identical exams, but the PSAT/NMSQT can be taken by students who want to be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship program. These exams are designed to be taken in 10th grade, although the PSAT/NMSQT is available for 11th graders as well.

The PSAT 8/9 is available for eight and ninth grade students who want to get a jump start on their college preparation.

What's on the PSAT/NMSQT and the PSAT 10?

The PSAT tests reading, writing and mathematics. It is designed to review what you've been studying in high school and gauge whether you're ready for college. You have 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete this exam. The majority of PSAT questions are in a multiple-choice format. (Hint: to master these types of questions, check out this lesson on strategy for multiple-choice questions).

The Reading Test

This section asks you to read a passage from literature, civics and government, the social sciences or traditional science. Some passages may also include an informational graphic, like a table or a chart. You'll be asked to draw conclusions based on what you've read. All the questions in this section are multiple choice.

The Writing and Language Test

The writing and language section tests your grammar and proofreading skills. You will be given a sentence or a passage followed by multiple-choice questions. You might need to correct a mistake in the text or improve on the way it was written. Passages in this section may also include charts, tables or graphs.

The Math Test

The math section tests your ability to solve problems using the skills you've learned in math class, like formulating equations, analyzing data and using logic. The test covers algebra, geometry and trigonometry. It has two subsections, but only one lets you use a calculator. This test contains both multiple choice and open-ended, grid-in questions.

PSAT Prep has a quick and easy course to prep for the PSAT:

It's broken down into short video lessons that are on average, around eight minutes long and brief quizzes that emphasize what you've just learned. Because it's all online, you can check it out wherever you are on your phone or tablet - do as much or as little as you have time for.

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