PSAT Test Dates
The PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) is a structured test conducted to evaluate a student’s college preparedness. It is a preliminary version of the SAT. The PSAT/NMSQT is only offered on two days in October. The PSAT test dates are typically set for the third Saturday of October and the preceding Wednesday each year. Students are required to sign up for the PSAT/NMSQT at their high schools or other high schools in their community. The PSAT/NMSQT is not administered through test centers. Students typically take their PSAT in their junior year and some of them may even take their practice PSAT in their sophomore year.
The PSAT lasts for 2 hours and 10 minutes. It tests the student’s skills in the three academic areas: Math, Critical Reading, and Writing. The test is divided into five sections and students are graded on a scaled score from 20-80 points for each section.
The PSAT serves as a valuable tool for building confidence in students who are preparing for the SAT. It is a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship and various recognition programs. It also helps students prepare for their college and careers.
Notable PSAT Test Dates
Some important PSAT Test dates are listed below:
- September: Students need to review the official student guide and they should ideally take the practice test available within the student guide. Students can use the My Organizer tool available on the CollegeBoard website to get a clear understanding of the PSAT/NMSQT process.
- October: The PSAT test date is scheduled for this month and the test is administered in the third week of the month (third Saturday and the preceding Wednesday). The PSAT test materials are made available in the schools by the first week of October.
- November: Students are required to start searching for colleges and universities in this month. They should also search for scholarships and learn more about funding their college education.
- December: PSAT test score reports are dispatched to schools in December. Students need to review the ‘Improve your Skills’ section in the score report. They can also access the CollegeBoard website to find more information about using their score report.
- January: The Summary of Answers and Skills (SOAS) report, which provides a snapshot of the student’s performance on each PSAT/NMSQT test question, is released on the web and is made available on the CollegeBoard website, in the month of January. Students can also view complete answer explanations for every PSAT test question and a personalized SAT study plan.
February: The last week of February marks the extended deadline for ordering optional PSAT/NMSQT reports.
Important Information for Students Taking the PSAT Test
There are a number of other resources available for juniors who are concerned about preparing for the SAT but missed taking the exam on the PSAT test date. They can go through the Official Student Guide for the PSAT/NMSQT or the SAT Preparation booklet. Both of these publications contain full practice tests which can be scored and timed in order to simulate the actual test. There are PSAT sample questions based on critical reading, math, and writing skills available on the CollegeBoard website.
Juniors who missed taking the exam on the PSAT test date but want to connect with colleges to receive information, can supply information for the Student Search Service by filling up the Student Descriptive Questionnaire while registering for the SAT.
Students who are registered to take the test but are unable to do so on the PSAT test date, due to an illness or some other emergency, need to request information from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) about alternate testing, post the PSAT test dates. Their request will only be considered if the letter written to NMSC is postmarked on or before March 1.