Free Practice Test for the PSAT/NMSQT Exam (Updated 2021)

PSAT/NMSQT Practice Test

The PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It is important to remember that the PSAT doesn’t impact a student’s college admissions applications, but mainly serves as the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship. Good PSAT scores are being used to evaluate and identify potential National Merit Scholars. Many students take the PSAT/NMSQT in hopes that they will acquire scholarship money to secure their studies in college.

PSAT/NMSQT Test Structure and Format

One of the significant steps to ace the PSAT/NMSQT test is to become attuned to the structure and format of the exam. The PSAT/NMSQT, like any standardized examination, can be predictable. The purpose of familiarizing yourself with the test structure becomes beneficial in terms of finding the right approach when answering the questions on the exam.

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The PSAT/NMSQT test consists of two sections: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. The latter is split into two categories which are Reading Test and a Writing & Language Test. To help you studying for the PSAT exam format better, please refer to the table we’ve outlined below:

                                                        PSAT/NMSQT Test Structure and Format
Subject AreaNumber of QuestionsAllotted Time
Reading47 questions60 minutes
Writing & Language44 questions35 minutes
Math48 questions70 minutes
Total139 questions165 minutes (2 hrs and 45 mins)

PSAT/NMSQT Scoring System

The PSAT/NMSQT scoring system is a little bit confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with exam scoring methods. Moreover, it’s not impossible to understand it clearly.

For the PSAT/NMSQT scoring, you will receive a score that ranges from 10-40 on each of the three subject areas. Other than that, you will also receive a score ranging from 160-170 for the two main test sections (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and for Math). In addition to this set of section scores, your total PSAT/NMSQT score is then calculated based on the sum of the two area scores and will range from 320-1520.

Did you lose track? No problem. To help you get a good understanding of the PSAT/NMSQT scoring system, we’ve created a quick overview of its specifics using the table below for your reference:

                                                              PSAT/NMSQT Scoring System Overview



Why it matters?

Evidence-Based Reading & Writing Score

Score range: 160 to 170

1 out of 2 section scores

●     Assesses and identifies areas of improvement.

●     Determines what specific category a student needs to focus on.


Score range: 160 to 170

1 out of 2 section scores

●     Evaluates quantitative skills.

●     Serves as the primary block to determine subject knowledge and performance.

Total Score

Score range: 320 to 1520

The sum of the 2 section scores.

●     Helps to anticipate possible SAT score.

●     Shows percentile ranking.

●     Determines the chance of acquiring a National Merit Scholarship.

What is a good PSAT score?

Since the PSAT total score ranges from 320-1520, the average PSAT score would be around 920, which is equivalent to getting 460 in Mathematics and 460 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. Furthermore, if you’re planning to acquire a scholarship, you should get a score of 1420-1480.

When do PSAT scores 2021 come out?

After the exam in October, the PSAT/NMSQT scores normally come out in December.

Getting Started with the PSAT/NMSQT Test

The PSAT/NMSQT is given every year in mid-October at every high school institution. Keep in mind that the PSAT/NMSQT is not administered at a testing center. For complete information about the PSAT/NMSQT, you may ask your school counselor about the PSAT test dates to successfully prepare for it in advance.

Why is the PSAT important?

#1 Excellent Preparation for the SAT

Since the PSAT/NMSQT serves as the preliminary test for the SAT, the test will be very beneficial for your preparation for the official SAT exam. The PSAT is actually 15 minutes shorter than the SAT. While it contains the same types of content questions (Math, Reading, and Writing), the PSAT does not contain an Essay section.

#2 Gain Opportunity to Acquire Scholarship Programs

One of the best things about the PSAT is it serves as the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Other than the possibility of acquiring tuition for college, you will also receive recognition from the National Merit Scholarship program that you can add to your college application credentials.

#3 Stand Out in College

The PSAT/NMSQT can help you stand out when it comes to your college application, as this will give you a strong advantage among other applicants. In fact, many colleges and universities encourage high-scoring students to apply to their institution. Thus, a great score on the PSAT/NMSQT can help you get noticed by college sharks and even benefit you in terms of paying application fees, which can potentially be waived because of your outstanding PSAT score.

Note: The top 50,000 PSAT scorers are recognized by the National Merit Scholarship program and are sent individual letters of commendation. Take note that the eligibility for the National Merit Scholarships is exclusively offered to junior high school students. Out of the 50,000 top scorers, an approximate number of 10,000 students share more than $47 million in National Merit Scholarship money.

Best PSAT Prep Course

       • Best Online PSAT Prep Course – PrepScholar
       • Best Live PSAT Prep Classes – Kaplan
       • Best PSAT Tutoring Online – Princeton PSAT Review
       • Best PSAT Course Instructors – Kranse Institute

PSAT/NMSQT Study Guide & Preparation

As we all know by now, the PSAT/NMSQT has 2 major sections, wherein one of the components is divided into two subtests. To give you comprehensive information that will serve as your study guide for the PSAT test, we’ve outlined the following information below for your reference:


The PSAT Math test is broken into two parts: 1.) Calculator section and 2.) No-calculator section. To give you an overview of what the Math will look like on the test, refer to the table below:

                                                                  PSAT/NMSQT Math Test
Subject DetailsCalculator SectionNo-Calculator SectionTotal
Duration45 minutes25 minutes70 minutes
Multiple-choice27 questions13 questions40 questions

Note: The PSAT Math covers the following topics: Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, Passport to Advanced Math, and Additional Topics in Math.

PSAT/NMSQT Reading Test

The PSAT/NMSQT Reading Test focuses on your comprehension and reasoning abilities presented through challenging extended prose passages. For a quick overview, check out the table below:

                                                                     PSAT/NMSQT Reading Test
Timing60 minutes
Questions47 passage-based multiple-choice questions
Passages4 single passages; 1 set of paired passages
Passage Length500-750 words per passage or passage set

Note: The Reading Test passages will be drawn out from the U.S. and World Literature, History/Social Studies, and Science.

PSAT/NMSQT Writing Test

The PSAT/NMSQT Writing and Language Test focuses on your ability to edit and revise erroneous texts from a variety of content areas,

                                                                        PSAT/NMSQT Writing Test
Timing35 minutes
Questions44 passage-based multiple-choice questions
Passages4 single passages with 11 questions each
Passage Length400-550 words per passage

PSAT/NMSQT Questions

How to achieve a good score for the new PSAT test in October?

There are heaps of best practices that you can do to earn a good score on the PSAT/NMSQT test. To provide with an idea, we’ve listed some of these best practices below:

  • Maintain a good balance between your PSAT prep and leisure activities.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Avoid stressing out your brain too much.
  • Utilize PSAT/NMSQT practice test materials.
  • Enhance your reading comprehension skills to better understand test questions.
  • Organize your study preparation and schedule.
  • Practice healthily and do not overdo yourself.

How did your PSAT score compare to your SAT score?

As discussed earlier, your PSAT score serves as the preliminary block that can potentially predict how you will do on the SAT. So if your PSAT score is low, it can tell a lot regarding the possible score that you can get on the SAT exam. Both the PSAT and SAT have similar question types, which implies that your performance on the PSAT can possibly reflect on your SAT examination.

How similar are the SAT and the PSAT?

The SAT and the PSAT are quite similar when it comes to the type of questions that they present to test-takers. Moreover, the SAT is particularly designed to evaluate students for college admissions. On the other hand, the PSAT is designed to serve as the basis for the National Merit Scholarship program as mentioned in some parts of this article.

What is a good PSAT score for a freshman?

A good PSAT score falls between 1420-1480, as this score range can grant you a spot to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Furthermore, the average PSAT score is 920, which falls between the PSAT score range 320-1520.

What is a good score for PSAT to qualify for a scholarship?

As previously mentioned, the qualifying score for the National Merit Scholarship program ranges from 1420-1480.

How is the PSAT currently structured?

The PSAT/NMSQT is currently structured as a 2-hour and 45 minutes test that is mostly made up of multiple-choice questions. It is composed of two main subject areas with one area divided into two subtests (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing)

How should I create a study plan for taking the PSAT?

Once you were able to learn the structure of the PSAT test, creating an effective study plan is pretty easy to do. You can cover all of the subject areas and schedule them accordingly. When creating a study plan, make sure that it is well-organized and easy to follow.

How will the PSAT prepare me for the SAT?

The type of questions on the PSAT is similar to the set of questions that the SAT administers. Also, PSAT stands for Preliminary SAT which means that it is officially connected to the SAT regardless of their difference in purpose.

What steps should I take to improve my PSAT score?

Aside from utilizing PSAT practice test materials and study guides offered by the College Board for PSAT test-takers, you can improve your PSAT score by developing exam strategies that can amplify your performance during the test. If you are aware of your mistakes while taking PSAT practice test courses, take note of them and address the problem immediately. Finding the right approach can greatly contribute to your overall performance on the PSAT/NMSQT test.

How difficult is the PSAT?

The difficulty level of the PSAT is quite low compared to the SAT. However, the PSAT has its own standard that can be tough to meet. In comparison with the SAT, the PSAT may be easier. But when on its own, it is one of the most challenging tests that a student can take, considering the benefits of getting a scholarship out of it.

How to score well on the PSAT?

Aiming for the highest score on the PSAT requires more than just a simple scanning or skimming of your notes about each subject area. In order to score well on the PSAT, you need to invest in consistent preparation. It is one of the most effective ways to get excellent results on every type of examination.