Preparing for the New PSAT Starting October 2015

Preparing for the
Starting October 2015
Two different tests:
PSAT 8/9: Taken in the fall of eighth and ninth grade.
PSAT/NMSQT: Taken in the fall of tenth and eleventh grade.
These new versions of the PSAT are designed to test the
same content as the new SAT, but at lower levels. The exams
are meant to be aligned so that each test reflects a
student’s progression from grade to grade.
Also, all of the exams in the suite will use the same scoring
scale, allowing students to directly compare progress from
year to year. The new PSATs and SAT will be graded out of a
combined score of 1600, with a separate essay score.
The exams will reflect concepts learned in the classroom and test college and career readiness.
According to the College Board, there will be eight key content changes:
1. Relevant words in context: Rather than testing obscure vocabulary words, the new exams
will test students’ ability to determine the meaning of words and phrases in context.
2. Command of evidence: Part of the Reading and Writing tests, students will have to
demonstrate an ability to use evidence found in different sources.
3. Essay analyzing a source: The new SAT essay will require students to read a passage and
explain how the author builds his or her argument.
4. Math that matters most: The new Math section will focus on problem solving and data
analysis, “heart of algebra”, and “passport to advanced math.”
5. Problems grounded in real-world contexts: Throughout the tests, questions will deal with
literature, nonfiction, charts, graphs, and passages likely to be relevant to many careers.
6. Analysis in science and in history/social studies: Students will have to apply reading,
writing, language, and math knowledge to answer questions in science, history, and social
studies contexts.
7. The great global conversation and U.S. founding documents: Each exam will contain a
passage from an important American/global text, such as the Declaration of Independence of
work by Edmund Burke or Nelson Mandela.
8. No penalty for wrong answers: Finally!! Students will no longer lose any points for wrong
answers. The guessing penalty is gone, once and for all.
Other test changes:
* 35 minutes longer than the current test and will have an additional 14 questions.
* The redesigned PSAT will use four multiple-choice answers instead of five
How long will the test take?
What is NMSQT:
Writing and
Reading and
Practice available online:
Try Sample Questions
Get to know the PSAT/NMSQT with these sample questions.
Review Sample Questions
Paper-and-Pencil Practice
Taking an official PSAT/NMSQT practice test is a great way to simulate test day. Plus,
you can score your own practice test and learn from your mistakes.
Take the Practice Test
Personalized Study with Khan Academy
The College Board and Khan Academy® have partnered to make practicing easy and
personal. At Khan Academy, you can access thousands of questions approved by the
College Board, take four official SAT practice tests, and create personalized study
plans based on your results.
Taking an SAT practice test is good practice for the PSAT/NMSQT because the
assessments measure the same skills and knowledge in ways that make sense for
different grade levels.
Practice on Khan Academy
Official Student Guide to the