C O L L E G E S U C C E S S™
What You Need to Know
about the PSAT/NMSQT
Prepare. Inspire. Connect.
What is the PSAT/NMSQT?
• Preliminary SAT – College Entrance Exam
• Tests of: Critical Reading
• National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test
when taken in 11th grade
• Closely related to skills students will need to
succeed in college
Why take the PSAT/NMSQT?
• Excellent preparation for college entrance exams
(SAT, ACT) and for college in general.
• Colleges use PSAT scores for potential recruitment
• Identification for potential scholarships and awards
• National Merit Scholarship Program
• National Merit Semifinalist
• Commended Scholar
• National Hispanic Scholar
• National Achievement Scholarship Program for Outstanding
African American Students
• May other academic scholarships available. Look at our
Time Frame for taking
9th and 10th grade years (All LHS students take for practice)
• Your sophomore score is what qualified you for
the PSAT team!!
11th grade year
• October 17, 2012: PSAT/NMSQT
(The PSAT Team will do AWESOME on the PSAT!)
• December 1, 2012: Recommended date that
students should register for SAT
Item Specifications
2 hours 10 minutes
Number/Type of Questions
Section 1: 25 minutes
Section 3: 25 minutes
Section 1: 8 sentence completion;
16 passage-based reading
Section 3: 5 sentence completion;
19 passage-based reading
Section 2: 25 minutes
Section 2: 20 mc questions
Section 4: 25 minutes
Section 4: 8 mc questions;
10 grid-in questions
Section 5: 30 minutes
Section 5: 14 identifying sentence errors;
20 improving sentences; 5 improving
How is the PSAT Scored?
• 1 point for each correct response.
• Subtract ¼ point for each incorrect
• Skipped questions are not counted at
• You will see how the grading works
exactly in a few minutes when you
grade your test from yesterday.
• Scoring is designed so that random guessing should
neither help nor hurt your score.
• However, if you have no idea, it is probably best just
to move on and skip the problem.
• If you can eliminate even one answer choice it is
probably best to go ahead and make a guess.
• For more information on guessing, including specific
examples, see the guessing document on our PSAT
Team website: LHSPSATTeam.weebly.com
Difference on Writing
(SAT and PSAT)
• In addition to the types of writing questions on the
PSAT, the SAT includes a writing prompt and written
• The essay will be similar to the type of on-demand
writing that is typically done in college.
• Many colleges began requiring a standardized
writing test for admission beginning with the entering
class of 2006.
When will I get my PSAT
scores back?
• Scores usually arrive in mid-December
• You will receive a Skills Feedback document
at school
• The Score Report will show three columns
• Math, Critical Reading, and Writing
• Range score from 0-80
Score Report Plus
Maximum score of 80 for
each section
Contains access code for
a free program called My
College Quickstart with a
more detailed score report,
a personalized study plan
and college planning tools.
Skills Feedback
Score Report Plus
• Tells students how their scores compare to
those of other sophomores or juniors
• Tells students what SAT score ranges they
can expect
• Includes a question-by-question breakdown
• Helps students identify strengths and
weaknesses and provides tips on how to
improve specific skills
General Test Taking
• Answer easy questions first. The easier questions are
usually at the start of the section, and the harder ones
are at the end. The exception is in the critical reading
section, where questions are ordered according to the
logic and organization of each passage.
• Make educated guesses. If you can rule out one or
more answer choices for multiple-choice questions, you
have a better chance of guessing the right answer.
• Skip questions that you really can't answer. No points
are deducted if an answer is left blank.
• Limit your time on any one question. All questions are
worth the same number of points. If you need a lot of time
to answer a question, go on to the next one. Later, you
may have time to return to the question you skipped.
General Test Taking
• Keep track of time. Don't spend too much time on any
group of questions within a section.
• Use your test booklet as scratch paper.
• Mark the questions in your booklet that you skipped
and want to return to.
• Check your answer sheet to make sure you are
answering the right question.
• Make sure you use a No. 2 pencil. It is very important
that you fill in the entire circle on the answer sheet darkly
and completely. If you change your response, erase it as
completely as possible.
• Calculator. Use one with which you are familiar. There is
no “best” calculator for PSAT. You just want one you are
comfortable with so it doesn’t take time to figure out the
calculator while you are testing.
The PSAT Team
• We are so excited to have all of you on this unique
team. While the material might lack excitement at
times, hopefully the improvement in your confidence
and PSAT score will make the hard work well worth
it! As the PSAT Team Class progresses, you will get
more detailed information about the following:
• Class logistics (your grade for the class, what we will do)
• Important dates
• Specific information for each section you will face on the
• Much, much more!