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Homepage Home > Testing > PSAT/NMSQT® > Coordinating the Program > Before Test Day > Schedule the Test

Schedule the Test

PSAT/NMSQT test day timing

Follow these guidelines for scheduling the PSAT/NMSQT:

  • All students tested at your school must take the test at the same time in the morning. (Exceptions may be made for testing students with disabilities.) Testing at any other time is not permitted. Once testing begins, allow enough time to complete testing before lunch time. Students cannot break for lunch and then resume testing afterwards.
  • Check the school calendar to be sure no disruptive activities—such as a fire drill, unrelated announcements on the public address system, or band practices next to the testing room(s)—are scheduled during the testing period.
  • Allow about 2 hours and 45 minutes for test-related activities:
    • Sections 1–4 require 25 minutes each.         
    • Section 5 takes 30 minutes.
    • Schedule a 5-minute rest break after Section 2 and a 1-minute stretch break after Section 4.
    • You will need about 25–30 minutes before the test to seat students, distribute test materials, and have students complete identifying information on their answer sheets.
    • After the test, you will need about 5 minutes to collect materials and dismiss students.

Schools that close on their registered test day due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather or building disruptions, widespread illness, etc., should contact the PSAT/NMSQT program by 3 p.m. EST Friday, October 18, to make other testing arrangements.

Customized Entry Pages


The PSAT/NMSQT Supervisor's Manual provides important information on procedures to be followed before, during, and after administration of the PSAT/NMSQT.

With your test book shipment, you will receive at least one Supervisor's Manual per 25 test books ordered. You can also download a copy  (.pdf/1.3M).

Please set aside time before the test day to read the manual carefully so that all procedures will be familiar and easy to follow when you administer the test.

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