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PSAT NMSQT – Everything You Need To know

Sep 7, 2023


Are you an aspirant of PSAT? Do you know there are three different types of PSAT tests? Are you aware of NMSQT to PSAT conversion of scores? When do PSAT NMSQT scores come out? and What is PSAT NMSQT?

Wondering why there are three different types of PSAT tests! Yes, you heard it right! The College Board has designed PSAT tests in three different formats, i.e., PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, and PSAT NMSQT.


Which option suits you: the PSAT 10 or the PSAT/NMSQT? To discover the answer to this question and gain insights into the differences between PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT and the conversion from PSAT to NMSQT, continue reading this article until the conclusion.

Overview About PSAT

The PSAT, or preliminary SAT, is a smaller version of the SAT, i.e., it is like a practice or mock test for the SAT. The PSAT is held once a year. Most students attempt it during their 10th or 11th grades. There are no curtailments on the number of attempts on the PSAT tests.


However, if you score high on the PSAT during your junior classes, in that case, you will be eligible to receive a National Merit Scholarship for your higher studies. Around $180 million each year are offered to the students in merit scholarships. Commonly PSAT is known as PSAT NMSQT.

Today, the field of education has become a lot more expensive. From admission forms to college tuition, the whole process becomes very expensive. Though many scholarship programs help students with higher studies, the competition for earning scholarships is also quite fierce. By getting high scores on the PSAT, you can get a lot of help with your study expenses.


Types of PSAT Exams

The College Board has designed the PSAT exam in three different formats. Each format is designed as per the level of grades. They have some similarities and differences. Yet, there is no such restriction on the students that they can only take the specific PSAT test as per their grades.

Different types of PSAT exams are given below:


1. PSAT 8/9

As its name signifies, i.e., 8/9, PSAT is specially designed for 8th and 9th-grade students. There is no fixed date for this test. You can contact your guidance counselor in the school and set up the PSAT 8/9 test.

The duration of PSAT 8/9 is 20 minutes fewer compared to PSAT NMSQT. It means PSAT 8/9 goes for 2 hours and 25 minutes only. Similarly, there are 19 fewer questions compared to PSAT NMSQT. The scores of PSAT 8/9 range from 240 to 1440.


The PSAT 8/9 has four fewer Writing and Language, ten fewer Mathematics, and five fewer Reading questions than PSAT/NMSQT tests.

2. PSAT 10

Similar to PSAT 8/9, it is designed for grade 10 students. However, qualifying for PSAT 10 does not mean you are eligible for the National Merit Scholarship. The duration of this test is equivalent to the PSAT NMSQT, i.e., 2 hours 45 minutes.


The PSAT 10 is held every year for the 10th-grade students during spring. Like PSAT NMSQT, PSAT 10 includes 44 Writing and Language, 48 Mathematics, and 47 Reading questions. The score scale of PSAT 10 ranges from 320 to 1520.


The College Board has designed the PSAT NMSQT for grade 11 students. But, it is not restricted to them. Grade 10 students can also attempt this test. This test is held in the fall of the year.


Earning a high score in PSAT NMSQT in the time of junior grade will let you earn the benefits of the National Merit Scholarship during your higher education. It has the same duration as PSAT 10 and a score scale from 320 to 1520.

The PSAT NMSQT is generally considered the mock version of the SAT. It is 15 minutes shorter in duration than SAT. Also, there are 15 questions less than SAT in PSAT NMSQT.

About PSAT NMSQT 2021

The PSAT NMSQT 2021 was held in October, like every year. It was offered to 10th and 11th-grade students. The 13th of October, 2021, was selected by the College Board for the PSAT NMSQT test. So, the primary test is held on this day.

The PSAT NMSQT is administered by the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It is similar to a standardized test that works as a practice test for college admissions and the SAT. Apart from this, juniors earning high marks in this test can receive a National Merit Scholarship.

The applicants who participated in PSAT NMSQT 2021 received their scores on the 6th or 7th of December, 2021. The highest score students can earn on PSAT is 1520. The scores are divided according to the different sections in the PSAT test paper.

  • For the PSAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section, you can earn scores from 160 to 760.
  • For the PSAT Mathematics section, you can earn scores from 160 to 760.

The total PSAT NMSQT scores can be counted by adding the scores of both these sections. Hence, the total scores of students will range from 320 to 1520.

You can go through the official College Board website for PSAT NMSQT practice tests. The PSAT NMSQT practice tests are available both online as well as offline. You can buy offline PSAT NMSQT practice tests by paying the charges or downloading them and printing them on paper. For solving the offline PSAT NMSQT practice tests, you will need a calculator, pencil, printer, and timer.

Some Tips can Help you during the Actual PSAT NMSQT Tests

  • Use the bubble answer sheet while practicing the sample papers.
  • Mark your answers carefully in the bubble sheet.
  • Be careful when you are skipping the questions and marking the answers.
  • There is no negative marking scheme in the PSAT NMSQT tests. So, you can use guesswork to answer the questions.
  • You can use Microsoft Word practice tests or MP3 audio formats to practice for PSAT NMSQT.


From the above article, you may have a clear idea now that all three formats of PSAT are quite similar. There is a single key difference among them, and that is their difficulty level. Each PSAT test will give you an excellent chance to prepare for the SAT. You will get excellent practice for the final SAT exam with each successive test.

It will be best to aim for the toughest PSAT level if your target is National Merit Scholarship and an SAT in one go. You can consider attempting PSAT NMSQT in your 10th grade while PSAT 10 during your 9th grade to enroll in one of the best colleges.

However, you can take the PSAT test according to your grade as the College Board designs it for students. Taking PSAT NMSQT practice tests is also a good way to earn high scores on the SAT and prepare for college admissions.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When do PSAT NMSQT scores come out?

If you have mentioned your email address on the answer sheet provided on the PSAT test day, you will receive a notification on that mail address indicating the date when your score will be available. Remember that your email address must have a unique access code connecting you to your scores online. However, if you forget to provide your email address on the answer sheet, you can still get access to your scores online.

The scores of PSAT NMSQT 2022 will be released on the 5th or 6th of December, 2022. In late November 2022, educators can access scores from the K_12 reporting portal.

2. Which has a tougher level, PSAT 10 or PSAT/NMSQT?

The College Board has designed PSAT tests per the students’ grades, but juniors can also take them. So, as a junior, it is obvious you will find the level of the sections will be tougher.

That’s why you can expect the Mathematics and Reading sections are harder in PSAT NMSQT tests compared to PSAT 10. Also, the grammar rules in PSAT NMSQT are quite trickier than in PSAT 10.

3. How does NMSQT to PSAT conversion of scores happen?

The NMSQT to PSAT conversion of scores shows how the raw scores are converted into cross-test scores, test scores, and subscores. Steps to perform score conversion are

  • The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section scores are calculated by adding the Reading section and Writing and Language section scores. Then multiply this addition by 10.
  • The Mathematics section scores are calculated by multiplying your scores in the Mathematics section by 20.

4. What are the differences between PSAT NMSQT and PSAT 10 tests?

Although PSAT 10 and PSAT NMSQT are quite similar in terms of the number of questions and duration of tests. Also, both tests help prepare for the SAT and can be taken by sophomores or juniors.

However, there are a few differences between PSAT 10 and PSAT NMSQT.

These are given below:

  • The PSAT 10 is taken by sophomores once a year during the spring. At the same time, PSAT NMSQT is taken by grade 10 or 11 students annually in the fall.
  • The PSAT 10 can help you in preparing for the SAT. However, despite scoring high, you will not receive any merit scholarship from this test. While scoring high on PSAT/NMSQT can let you earn a National Merit Scholarship that can assist you with college tuition and admission.
what is psat nmsqt


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