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College Board

Homepage Home > Testing > PSAT/NMSQT® > About the Test > Overview

Overview

PSAT/NMSQT basics

The PSAT/NMSQT is a comprehensive, standardized assessment administered at schools each October. The test provides an opportunity for you and your students to begin addressing areas where they may need extra attention as they prepare for life beyond high school.

Testing time

The PSAT/NMSQT is 2 hours and 10 minutes long, plus approximately 45-50 minutes of administrative duties.

Assessing skills

The PSAT/NMSQT measures:

  • Reading, math reasoning, and writing skills that are important for successful academic performance in college
  • Knowledge and skills developed through years of study in a wide range of courses as well as through experiences outside the classroom
  • Critical thinking—the ability to reason with facts and concepts, rather than the ability to recall and recite them

Test sections

The PSAT/NMSQT has five sections:

  • Two 25-minute critical reading sections
  • Two 25-minute math sections
  • One 30-minute writing skills section

Scoring

  • Scores for each section—critical reading, math, and writing—are on a 20-to-80 point scale
  • Correct answer = 1 point
  • Omitted answer = no points
  • Wrong answers to multiple-choice questions = minus ¼ of a point
  • Wrong answers to student-produced math questions = no points deducted

Customized Entry Pages

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