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Helping Students Prepare

Getting your students ready for the PSAT/NMSQT

When students take the PSAT/NMSQT, they are not required to recall facts—even the math formulas needed are supplied to them. Instead, the PSAT/NMSQT measures reasoning skills—for instance, knowing when to choose one of those math formulas and how to use it to arrive at the correct answer.

Long-term preparation

It takes time to develop reasoning skills, and that's why the best preparation for the PSAT/NMSQT is long term:

  • Taking the most challenging courses students can handle
  • Reading widely
  • Writing frequently
  • Studying hard
  • Getting involved in problem-solving activities through clubs, sports, hobbies, part-time jobs, etc.

This is the same preparation necessary for the SAT®—and for success in college-level course work.

Short-term preparation

Read on for information on short-term preparation for the PSAT/NMSQT:

  • Test by Section: Take a closer look at the critical reading, mathematics, and writing skills sections of the tests.
  • Approaches & Strategies: Tips on familiarizing your students with the PSAT/NMSQT before test day.
  • Resources & Tools: Downloads to help you prepare your students and their families for the PSAT/NMSQT.

Customized Entry Pages


The free PSAT/NMSQT Official Student Guide contains:

  • Sample test questions with explanations
  • Tips and strategies about guessing, pacing, and calculator use
  • Descriptions and entry requirements for National Merit Scholarship Corporation programs
  • A separate booklet containing a full-length practice test

Schools order these guides for their students at the same time they order test books by logging into the PSAT/NMSQT Coordinator site.

Full-Length Practice Test: Answers & Explanations

Answers and explanations for the questions in the full-length practice test included in the PSAT/NMSQT Official Student Guide are available online.

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