The PSAT/NMSQT (or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is administered by the College Board and is a preliminary version of the SAT. Not only does the PSAT help prepare students to take the SAT or ACT, a great score on the PSAT can also open the door to National Merit Scholarships and other awards. With $180 million dollars in scholarships awarded to students who achieve high scores on the PSAT, how a student performs on this exam can help the student earn scholarship dollars that might change the direction of college planning. The PSAT is much more than a practice test.
The Evidence-Based Reading section of the PSAT is aimed at testing the student’s ability to draw supported conclusions from the passage details and/or make inferences based on the author’s point of view. In short, the student’s ability to read, comprehend, and choose effectively against the given answer choices is key.
The Writing & Language section of the PSAT is aimed at testing the student’s ability to identify and correct areas where the passage does not comply with standard English conventions, such as grammar, usage, and punctuation. In short, the student’s ability to identify errors in the passage and determine the necessary revision among the answer choices is key.
The Math section of the PSAT is focused on algebraic problems and the student’s ability to analyze and interpret a set of data. Many questions will require two or more steps in order to solve them. In short, the student’s ability to eliminate answer choices when applicable is key.
- Heart of Algebra problems will test the ability to create, solve, and analyze equations, systems of equations, linear equations, inequalities, and functions.
- Problem-Solving and Data Analysis problems will focus on real-world problems that include concepts in proportional relationships, percentages, complex measurements, and data interpretation and synthesis.
- Passport to Advanced Math will test the ability to understand and analyze the structure of advanced expressions as well as complex equations, including quadratic and higher-order equations.