The PSAT is a preliminary version of the SAT - it mirrors the SAT in subject matter, but is shorter and has no bearing on a student’s university admission, although it may be an indicator of how strong an SAT score you can expect. Not only is the PSAT used as a preparation tool to help prepare students to take the SAT or ACT, in the US a great score on the PSAT can also open the door to National Merit Scholarships and other awards.
The new PSAT will be fully aligned with the new SAT debuting in March 2016 and will be 2 hours and 45 minutes long, testing skills in Reading, Writing and Math. Similar to the SAT, the PSAT will have a maximum composite score of 1600 (800 max. for Math and 800 max. for Critical Reading and Writing combined. Unlike the old PSAT, the redesigned PSAT gives no penalties for wrong answers and you now only have a choice of 4 answers in the multiple choice.
Below is an outline of the PSAT:
- 60 minutes
- 9 U.S / World Literature
- 18-20 Social Studies / History
- 18-20 Science
Writing and Language
- 35 minutes
- 24 Expression of Ideas
- 20 Standard English Conventions
- 25 minutes no calculator / 45 mins with calculator
- 16 Heart of Algebra
- 13 Data Analysis & Problem Solving
- 16 Passport to Advanced Math
- 2 Additional Topics in Math