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The PSAT/NMSQT test (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is a practice test for the SAT2 test. Although this standardized test is optional, high school juniors must take the PSAT/NMSQT test if they want to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship.

This 2 hour and 45 minute test covers the following:

  • Evidence Based Reading
  • Writing and Language
  • Math

Most test questions are multiple choice, although the math section includes some open-answer questions.

Getting Ready

Check for PSAT/NMSQT study materials at your local library or bookstore. Here are some other ways to prepare:

Think you're ready for the real thing?

The PSAT/NMSQT test is generally offered twice in the Fall—your guidance counselor will know the specific dates. You must sign up for the PSAT/NMSQT test through your school. The test fee is usually less than $20, but it can vary by location.

Scores to Aim For

Your total PSAT/NMSQT score can range from 60 to 240 (20 to 80 for each section). To qualify for a National Merit Scholarship, you generally need over 200 (although this cutoff can change from year to year).

Keep in mind that the PSAT/NMSQT test is a practice test. Schools rarely look at your PSAT/NMSQT scores, and PSAT/NMSQT scores are not a requirement for admissions.

Don't worry if you didn't score as well as you would have liked. You still have time to prepare for the SAT test.

Want to Know More?

1PSAT/NMSQT is a registered trademark of the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which were not involved in the production of, and do not endorse, this product.

2SAT is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.