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College Board

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

Test Sections

Critical reading, mathematics, and writing skills are tested on the PSAT/NMSQT

The PSAT/NMSQT measures a student's critical thinking skills in three areas:

  • Critical reading
  • Mathematics
  • Writing skills

Most questions are multiple choice. The remaining are student-produced responses to math questions.

Critical reading

The critical reading section is composed of two 25-minute critical reading sections with a total of 48 questions, including:


Two 25-minute math sections = 38 questions:

Students are advised to bring a calculator with which they are comfortable. However, a calculator is not required. Students should have basic knowledge of four math categories:

  • Numbers and operation
  • Algebra and functions (but not third-year-level math that may appear on the SAT®)
  • Geometry and measurement
  • Data analysis, statistics and probability

Writing skills

One 30-minute writing section = 39 questions:

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