PSAT Tutoring In-Depth

What is the PSAT?

The PSAT exam is a shorter practice version of the SAT and is offered to most New York City students in 10th and 11th grades, providing two additional opportunities to get comfortable with the SAT test structure without the added pressure of having to submit scores to colleges. While the test mainly serves as a warm-up to the SAT, scores reflect how students handle the test material and pinpoint where they need to focus in order to improve on future tests.

Who takes it and when?

There are a variety of PSAT tests. The traditional PSAT/NMSQT is still offered by many schools to sophomores and juniors in the fall. However, only the junior test counts toward qualifying for a National Merit Scholarship. For sophomores the PSAT is only an opportunity to practice for the one that counts the following year. The PSAT 10 is a newer exam that was created to offer sophomores an opportunity to take a practice test in the spring for the 11th grade PSAT. The content of the PSAT 10 is slightly easier than the PSAT/NMQST because it is designed specifically for sophomores, but it has the same format and is scored the same at the PSAT/NMQST.

The key as to which tests will be available to sophomores and juniors is dependent upon specific schools or school districts. Many schools have traditionally offered sophomores and juniors the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall while some schools only offer the PSAT/NMSQT to juniors. Meanwhile, other schools have begun offering the PSAT 10 to sophomores in late winter/early spring. Each administration of the exam is paid for by schools, which is why they aren’t offered equality to all students in the country or even with New York. It is advisable to check with your school to find out which tests will be offered and when.

PSAT Overview

The PSAT follows the same structure as the SAT, but is significantly shorter.

Category: PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10
Total Testing Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

  • Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
    • Reading Test (60 Minutes/47 Questions)
    • Writing and Language Test (35 Minutes/44 Questions)
  • Math (70 minutes/48 Questions)
    • Calculator and no calculator sections

Score Reporting: Scores will be reported on a shared common score scale with the SAT: The scale ranges for the PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 scores are 320–1520 for the total score, 160–760 for each of two section scores, and 8–38 for test scores.

Ranking: Each student receives a percentile rank between 1 and 99 that indicates how their score compares to other students. Students ranking in approximately the 96th percentile (top 50,000 scores) generally qualify for a National Merit Scholarship.

How is the PSAT different from the PreACT?

The difference between the PSAT and PreACT are approximately the same as the differences between the SAT and ACT content, which you can see by visiting our ACT vs. SAT page.

Will my child take the PreACT?

Because the PreACT is a relatively new exam that hasn’t gained significant popularity in the New York region, most high schools in our area are not administering it at this time. There are a few exceptions,
however, so you should check with your high school to find out whether they intend to offer the PreACT. If your high school doesn’t offer the PreACT there is not a way to take it privately. As demand for the
PreACT increases more New York area high schools will gradually move toward offering it to their students.

Getting Started

If your child is taking the PreACT please contact Next Level Learning to obtain the best ACT tutoring in New York.

Our Approach to Tutoring