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PSAT or SAT – Similar Yet Different, So Be Informed

Mar 8, 2024

PSAT or SAT are standardized entrance exams conducted for students who aspire to be part of prestigious schools and colleges overseas. Many questions might arise in your mind, such as ‘Is the PSAT easier than the SAT?’ Or ‘What is the difference between the digital PSAT and SAT?’

As you read further, the variation will become easier to comprehend. If you are interested, it is better for you to be informed and well aware of their differences.


What is the SAT?

SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test), formerly known as Scholastic Aptitude Test, is a benchmark standardized test for entrance of high school students comprising both juniors and seniors. It is an assessment used by colleges to test the aptitude and eagerness of the students for the colleges. It provides general criteria against which every student is judged across all countries.

Most prestigious colleges and universities follow it in Canada, Australia, the USA, and Italy. Earlier, it was a multiple choice question assessment that was held in pen and paper mode, but post-2023, the module has changed to online mode for accessibility of students all across the globe. The College Board, a private non-profit organization, is the primary body to conduct this examination and emphasizes evaluating the overall performance of students. 


Who Should You Apply For SAT?

Are you a high school student who is aspiring to study abroad? Do you plan on attending premier colleges across the world? Then, the SAT is your calling. Grab the syllabus and start studying, as the SAT will give you the fuel to power through to colleges in other countries. Certain colleges in India also take your SAT score into account while choosing their students. The SAT score  

SAT and its Sections

The new digital SAT format comprises two main sections that aim to assess your overall grasp of high school knowledge.

  • The first section is the Evidence-based Reading and Writing(EBRW), which further comprises Reading, Writing, and Language sections. 
  • The second section is the Maths section, which again is further divided into Math with a calculator and Mathematics without the use of a calculator. 

The digital SAT format gives students 3 hours to complete the exam. The Reading section takes up 65 minutes, and the Maths section(without a calculator) takes up 25 minutes. 

The topics that you would be tested for would be Literature, Social Sciences, Humanities, and many others. You will also be examined on the basis of informational graphics like charts, graphs, etc.


The essay writing section was scrapped, citing that Reading and Writing sections are enough to judge a student’s depth in Literature.  


The scoring of the SAT is done across all four sections. The total score stands at 1600, and each section is scored on a 200 to 800-point scale. You have to score across both sections to achieve a good SAT score.



The result of the SAT exam is announced and made available online within 2-3 weeks of the test. It is up to you to send your scores to your institution or withhold it. The first four SAT scorecards are free, and after that, they are chargeable.    

When Does The SAT Take Place?

The SAT exam takes place in the Indian subcontinent seven times around the year, on the first Saturday of the month. March, May, June, August, October, November, and December are the months when the SAT is held. It would be best if you decided on your tenure of exam depending on the university deadlines that you plan to join.


What is a Good SAT Score?

The SAT scorecard is subjective to the universities or colleges that you plan on joining. A score of 1050 is a good enough score in ideal scenarios. But a score of around 1200 means that you fared well in the exam. A scorecard of more than 1450 makes you eligible for Ivy League colleges and universities.

Your scorecard is your scale of excellence and thus earns you a spot in your dream college.


How Do You Prepare for the New Digital SAT?

You require ardent studying of around 4-6 months for the SAT exam. It is a digital exam, so you have to prepare accordingly. Taking multiple tests online will help you with time management. 80+ hours of online interactive classes and guidance from experienced guides will help you nurture your knowledge. Online discussions of previous years’ question papers and one-on-one interaction will ensure a good score.

A perfect recipe for your endurance and perfectly curated guidance will bake a delicious and successful SAT attempt.

Differentiation Between PSAT And SAT

PSAT and SAT are very similar. PSAT stands for Preliminary SAT and is shorter by 15 minutes compared to SAT. PSAT evaluates similar criteria of subjects as SAT, but the scoring is a bit different. 

The Digital PSAT is scored on a point scale of 320 to 1520, unlike the digital SAT—the scores of the PSAT act as a prediction for the SAT scores. If you are preparing for the SAT, you are, in turn, also getting ready to face the PSAT. PSAT is mainly for students in 11th and 12th grades. It helps in preparing the students to face the SAT. However, a good score on PSAT online does not ensure a good score on the SAT, but it does boost the morale of the students.

  • Unlike SAT, PSAT online is not held throughout the year. It is held once a year, generally around October.
  • As the name PSAT suggests, it is a preliminary exam and thus is not as challenging as SAT digital. Preparing for the PSAT early on in an academic career may ensure a good score on the SAT.
  • The SAT costs way more than the PSAT. PSAT charges $18 compared to the SAT, which costs $55 each time you take the test. However, there are fee waivers provided by schools in both cases, so get in touch with your school authority.
  • PSAT is a mandatory requirement to avail of the scholarship of $2500 provided under the National Merit Scholarship Program. Scoring well in the PSAT should be your priority if you plan on landing the scholarship or sitting for the SAT exam. 

SAT vs PSAT Comparison Table 

PurposeCollege entrance exam for juniors and seniorsPreliminary test for SAT preparation
Length3 hours (plus an optional essay)2 hours and 45 minutes
SectionsEvidence-based Reading and Writing (EBRW), MathSimilar to SAT but with a shorter duration
FormatDigital since 2023, with EBRW and Math sectionsDigital, shorter duration, and similar content
ScoringTotal score out of 1600, EBRW and Math each on a 200-800 scaleTotal score out of 1520, two sections on a 160-760 scale
FrequencyOffered seven times a yearOffered once a year (usually October)
Cost$55 per test$18 per test
AvailabilityWorldwideMainly in the United States and limited international locations
Scholarship Eligibility (USA)Not specified in the informationNational Merit Scholarship Program (potential $2500 scholarship)
Relationship between PSAT and SATPSAT scores act as a predictor for potential SAT performancePreparation for SAT; PSAT is not as challenging as SAT
Essay SectionRemoved in the new digital SAT formatNo essay section
Test Dates (Indian Subcontinent)Seven times a year (March, May, June, August, October, November, December)Once a year (usually October)
Recommended PreparationAround 4-6 months of dedicated studying, online practice tests, interactive classesEarly preparation for the SAT, focusing on strengthening skills
Notable Universities (USA)Influential for admission into prestigious colleges, including Ivy League institutionsNot applicable (PSAT is a preparatory exam)
Score Announcement Time2-3 weeks after the testNot specified


Both the PSAT and SAT require strenuous strides of excellence. Do you believe in your future endeavor to study abroad? Then let nothing stop you from that. Choose a good online tutor and prep for your online tests. Let detailed video courses and interactive classes be the easy answer to your elaborate subject review. Book a counseling session online and let the experts guide you to your destination.

Frequently Asked Questions

How tough is it to crack the SAT?

The SAT is a fairly tough exam. With correct guidance and loads of practice assessment, one can crack through it.

Is the SAT worth it for Indian Students?

Yes, it is. Not only over 4,000 overseas universities but also around 45 universities in India take the SAT score into consideration during admissions.

Which colleges in the USA require the SAT score as their eligibility criteria?

The SAT score is a huge impact factor for admission into reputable colleges like Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, Princeton University, and many others.

digital PSAT and SAT


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