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PSAT Meaning – About PSAT Score And Cost

Oct 4, 2022

What is PSAT?

PSAT meaning: It is a test that students less frequently recognize than the SAT. Even though it has “SAT” in its name, they don’t know how closely PSAT relates to SAT.

So in this post, we’ll address one of the most frequently asked questions: what does PSAT meaning? We’ll start by going through the PSAT’s definition and the reasons most students choose to take it. Next, we’ll discuss the PSAT’s administration and scoring procedures. In the end, a brief explanation of the actual significance of PSAT scores for children.


PSAT Meaning

First, the PSAT score means, well, PSAT stands for ” The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). It is an American standardized test that focuses on students in the 10th and 11th grades. It is governed by the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

The PSAT is taken by about 3.5 million students yearly at numerous high schools. But why even take it?


What Similarity does it have to the SAT?

The PSAT and SAT are currently closely related. As the name suggests, the PSAT test’s main goal is to serve as a practice test for the SAT. PSAT and SAT are very similar in contents, administration, and perhaps even scoring.

However, the two tests are not the same. The PSAT and SAT differ significantly in the following ways.

  • The scoring system for the PSAT and SAT is notably distinct.
  • Compared to the SAT, the PSAT is a little simpler.
  • In comparison to the SAT, the PSAT has fewer questions.

Let’s return to the “NMSQT” portion of the complete PSAT name. T is a prerequisite exam for the National Merit Scholarship Program and serves as an SAT practice test.

In other words, a student’s candidacy for National Merit scholarships is determined by their PSAT results. Every year the top 1 % of the 11th class PSAT test takers are chosen as the semifinalists. About 7,500 of these students receive scholarships.


What about the PSAT 10 and PSAT 8/9? These two exams are primarily designed to prepare students for the PSAT/NMSQT and SAT.

The PSAT 10 is intended only for students in the tenth grade, which is only given in the spring and is nearly similar to the PSAT/NMSQT. The PSAT 10 is, therefore, slightly simpler than the PSAT/NMSQT. Additionally, only 10th-grade students are permitted to take the PSAT 10 to become eligible for National Merit.


On the contrary, the PSAT 8/9 is intended for 8th and 9th-grade students. It focuses on younger students and is given in the fall and spring. The PSAT 8/9 is shorter and simpler than the PSAT 10 and has a separate scoring system from the PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT.

PSAT Score Meaning: Why Do Students Take It?

Students primarily take the PSAT in 10th and 11th grades for the following three main reasons:


SAT Preparation: The most popular reason students, particularly freshmen, take the PSAT is to prepare themselves for the SAT, which is sometimes required for college admission. Students can gain a glimpse of the SAT by taking the PSAT, which also enables them to pinpoint their potential strengths and shortcomings.

Obtaining a National Merit Award or Scholarship, The PSAT is also taken by students primarily to compete for a National Merit scholarship. Around 1.6 million juniors use the PSAT annually to enter the National Merit competition. Sixteen thousand of those who took the test will advance to the semifinal round, and 15,000 of those Semifinalists will move on to the final round. Ultimately, 7,500 participants will receive a $2,500 prize and the (very coveted) title of National Merit Scholar.


Taking the PSAT as a sophomore to prepare for a second attempt: Sometimes, students re-attempt the PSAT as a last alternative to prepare for the junior year. Even though sophomores are not eligible for National Merit, taking the PSAT can boost your chances of receiving a high score and a sought-after National Merit scholarship.

When and Where is PSAT Conducted?

In the case of the PSAT, students need to register themselves and take the examination at their high school (or a nearby school, in case your school doesn’t offer it), unlike the SAT, which allows students to select their test location. 

You can also use the College Board’s school web tool if you’re unsure whether the PSAT will be given at your school or if you want to find a list of local schools administering it.

So when can you take the PSAT? Every autumn, the PSAT is given on three dates, typically beginning in early to mid-October. The College Board has not yet officially verified these dates. Here is the PSAT exam schedule for 2022.

  • Primary Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2022
  • Saturday Date: Saturday, October 15, 2022
  • Alternate Date: Wednesday, October 25, 2022

Again, in PSAT, you cannot select the date. Instead, the school administration will select a date for the examination. In most schools, It is held on the primary date. You can consult your counselor to check the PSAT test date for your school.

What Is the Cost of the PSAT?

The PSAT costs $18, though the amount varies by school. Some institutions may pay all or a portion of this fee, allowing students to take the test for free, while others may charge extra to cover the cost of paying test proctors.

Your school (or the institution where you’ll be taking the PSAT) shall provide you with all the necessary information to pay for the test and a deadline for filling out the form. Most institutions ask for PSAT fees by the end of September. However, the College Board will never require you to pay them directly (the school’s responsibility).

If you cannot pay the test fee, you might qualify for a PSAT fee waiver, as low-income 11th graders are eligible to receive a fee waiver. Consult your counselor to learn if you qualify for a waiver. The College Board only grants fee waiver requests from schools, not students.

What Is Covered by the PSAT?

PSAT scores meaning: The PSAT is close to the SAT, both in terms of structure and content, and it received a revision in 2015 to coincide with the 2016 SAT modification.

The PSAT consists of three sections: Math, Reading, Writing, and Language. On the PSAT, each section only appears once in the following preset order: Reading, Writing, and Math.

Like the SAT, the PSAT Math portion has two subsections: With a Calculator and without a Calculator. On No Calculator, you are not allowed to use a calculator; on Calculator, you are allowed to use a (pre-approved) calculator.

On the PSAT, most of the questions are multiple-choice based. Only the grid-in problems in the Math section are the sole exceptions. Students need to solve and submit their solutions to these questions. As per the College Board, there are eight grid-in questions on the PSAT Math (making it 17% of the test).

Below is the overall PSAT test structure. You can see the order in which the test’s sections will appear, how much time you have for each portion, and how many questions will be asked in each section. Here students must take a look at an official PSAT practice test to get an even better understanding of what will be on the PSAT.

PSAT Sectional Test Order

PSAT SectionTest OrderTime GivenTotal Questions
Language and Writing23541
Math (Without a calculator)32517
Math (With a calculator)44531

How Are PSAT Scores Calculated?

PSAT score meaning: The range of possible PSAT scores is 320–1520, in increments of 10 points. PSAT  Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) scores are graded on a scale of 160-760. EBRW combines the portions for reading and writing.) These two section scores truly represent your scaled or equated scores. But how are these scores determined?

To calculate the PSAT score, you begin by combining the three raw scores, one for each of the three sections—reading, writing, and math. The total number of questions you answered determines your raw score. No points are deducted for wrong responses! Your raw scores for each part are then translated into exam scores on a scale of 8-38. 

It should also be mentioned that your Selection Index score, which the NMSC utilizes to determine candidacy for the National Merit competition, is obtained by adding your test results and multiplying them by 2.

You receive a scaled math score of 760 by multiplying your math test result by 20. Similarly, your combined Reading and Writing scores are multiplied by 10 to provide a single scaled EBRW score (also out of 760).

In addition to the section-wise scores, you will receive cross-test scores for the examination. These scores are similar to SAT scores, reflecting your proficiency in particular skills. Cross-test scores range from 8-38, while subscores have a score ranging from 1–15.

Any result in the 75th percentile or above, or merely any number close to the SAT requirement for admission to the colleges you plan to attend, may be regarded as an excellent PSAT result.


PSAT means: For students in the 10th and 11th grades, the PSAT/NMSQT, sometimes known as the PSAT, is an annual October practice exam for the SAT. It is also a requirement for the National Merit Scholarship Program, which offers $2,500 scholarships each year to students who achieve excellent academic standing in the 11th grade.

To take the PSAT test on the day set by your school, you must register at that location (or a nearby school). Achieving a high PSAT score is essential if you hope to be selected for National Merit or obtain a high SAT score. If not, however, neither you nor anybody else will place much weight on your PSAT score.

PSAT Meaning


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