PSAT Introduction

The Perfect platform for a high PSAT score

About PSAT

Build up to College Dreams

The Preliminary SAT(PSAT) is a standardized test administered by the College Board and cosponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) in the United States. Approximately 3.5 million students take the PSAT each year.

The PSAT Exam is mainly attempted to determine eligibility and qualification for the National Merit Scholarship Program (for US Citizens Only). PSAT is also considered a strong pre-cursor to the SAT exam. Any student who is planning to appear for SAT exam is strongly recommended to have a PSAT score too.

It is always a good game plan to use the PSAT as practice for the SAT and one of the starting points on your college admissions journey. Most students use this Test as a practice in their sophomore year. With a strong PSAT and SAT score in hand, the doors of various scholarships can be opened to most colleges.

The PSAT is offered nationally every year in October. Follow the link to find registered schools in your area:

What’s the Difference?

Clarity on PSAT/SAT confusion

The PSAT is basically SAT with less bite and one important purpose: it can get you scholarships. It does not get you acceptance into college but it is definitely an indication of your SAT scores, especially in math.

The types of questions are the same as SAT, so are the instructions. In fact, the timing on each section is also very similar. There are a few important differences in length, scoring, and content which are delineated below for your reference:

The Time Factor

Component PSAT SAT
Reading 60 minutes 60 minutes
Writing & Language 35 minutes 35 minutes
Math 70 minutes 80 minutes
Essay None 50 minutes (optional)
Total Length 2 hours 45 minutes 3 hours (3 hours 50 minutes with essay)

The Scoring Factor

Component PSAT SAT
Evidence based Reading & Writing 160-760 200-800
Math 160-760 200-800
Total Length 320-1520 400-1600

The Content Factor

Component PSAT SAT
Questions 45 47
Passage Word Count 500-750 words per passage or paired set 500-750 words per passage or paired set
US and World Literature 1 Passage, 9 questions 1 Passage, 10 questions
History/Social Studies 2 Passages,or 1 Passages and 1 pair 2 Passages,or 1 Passage and 1 pair
Science 2 Passages,or 1 Passages and 1 pair 2 Passages,or 1 Passage and 1 pair
Graphics 1-2 graphics in 1 History/Social Studies and 1 Science passage 2 Passages,or 1 Passages and 1 pair

Math Test Content

Component PSAT SAT
Total Questions 48 58
Math Section Total Time 70 minutes 80 minutes
Calculator Permitted Section Time 45 minutes 55 minutes
Calculator Not Permitted Section Total Time 25 minutes 25 minutes
Multiple Choice(4 options) 40 questions 45 questions
Student-Produced Response (grid in) 8 questions 13 questions
Heart of Algebra 16 questions 19 questions
Problem Solving and Data Analysis 16 questions 19 questions
Additional Topic in Math 2 questions 6 questions
Passport to advanced 14 questions 16 questions

PSAT Pattern

Know what you are in for!

Each section is scored on a scale of 160–760, making a “perfect” score 1520.The percentile score compares your result with everyone else who took the PSAT on the test date. A 75thpercentile score means you scored equal or higher than 75% of the students who took the PSAT with you.

The table below encapsulates the current PSAT Format:

Component Score Time Allotted Number of Questions
Reading Range: 160-170 60 minutes 47
Writing & Language Range: 160-170 35 minutes 44
Math Range: 160-170 70 minutes
45-minutes: calculator section
25-minutes: no-calculator section
Total Range: 320-1520 2 hours 45 minutes

The Reading passages will contain excerpts from either US "founding documents" or a text from the "ongoing Great Global Conversation” which pertains to freedom, justice, and human dignity.

All multiple-choice questions have four answer choices, one of which is correct. The questions of each section of the same type are generally ordered by difficulty. However, an important exception exists: Questions that follow the long and short reading passages are organized chronologically, rather than by difficulty.

The Math section has shifted its focus to three main areas viz., (a) Heart of Algebra, (b) Problem Solving & Data Analysis and (c) Passport to Advanced Math. With two sections devoted to Math, one section allows the usage of calculators. In the other section, calculators are not permitted. As required, all the Geometry questions are preceded by a figure for you to refer to. All Grid-in questions are required to be marked in the special grid-in area of the answer sheet

Extramarks Offerings

How we help you achieve that Score

Extramarks offers a unique platform to prepare PSAT online. It provides an extensive Test Prep for students which make the virtual learning environment more conducive. This self-paced course has been created with a busy student like you in mind. Designed by a team of test-prep experts, Extramarks PSAT Self-Paced prep pack delivers exclusive test-taking strategies along with personalized analysis of the test taker with a help of recommended study plan. One of the key features of the pack is the Unlimited Test Series, you have the choice to take the test unlimited times. Kick off your PSAT prep with Extramarks Test Prep service.

How do I prepare for PSAT with Extramarks?

Please check the skeletal overview of Extramarks PSAT Prep flow:

PSAT Online Course Features

The build-up to Success

PSAT Diagnostic Test

Truly Identify where you Stand

Preparation for an exam can truly begin when you know exactly what you are in for! Taking a Diagnostic Test allows you to have a preview of yourself vis-a-visPSAT. Once the scores are in, it's easier for you to undergo focused and more importantly, informed, test preparation.

Our diagnostic test is designed along the pattern of the actual PSAT Exam. Once you complete it, a detailed score break up is made available for you, section wise. Additionally, a recommendation plan is chalked up exclusively for you. The plan identifies your weak areas and proposes a plan-of-action for it. The test places you at an advantage even before you begin your preparations since you are already aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

We hope that we have put you in the right frame of mind for exam!


Hone your Skills with Videos on all PSAT Topics

Welcome to the Extensive Video Tutorials.

We have designed the tutorials keeping flexibility of self based study in mind. The course is broken into manageable modules. Examples and sample questions are made available to you throughout the module - exemplifying the topic for easy understanding. The tutorials themselves are in uncomplicated language. In fact, we have made available the script of the tutorials too, in case you want to go over the lectures at your own pace. In some modules, we have incorporated extra practice questions for that specific module, the idea being to cement the strategies and tips and tricks taught to you in the tutorials.

Practice Exercises

Highly Tested Practice Questions to get the Real feel of PSAT

Practice Exercises help you to conceptualize what you have learnt in the video tutorials. Armed with a Performance Tracker Tool, this section provides the requisite practice questions and tracks your performance too.

Unlimited Full Length Test

Proven and Highly Tested Questions to Stimulate the Actual SAT Environment

Full Length Tests (FLTs) play a crucial role in all Test Preps. They allow you to get familiar with the test at your own pace initially, while providing you with a realistic report card of your performance. Simulating the test environment of PSAT is a conscious and core tenet of our approach to test prep tutoring of students. The various advantages of taking the FLTs are enumerated below

  • Helps to train for performing under high stress situation
  • Familiarity allows for a 'no-surprises' test day
  • Builds metal and physical stamina to prevent exam fatigue setting in
  • Gives time to apply multiple strategies on a question type
  • Helps you to recognize your pressure points and work on them

One can never negate the power of words. Give yourself an extra power with the Visual Flash Cards made available for your reference.

Performance Tracker

A Realistic Assessment of your Performance

Performance Tracker allows students to see at a glance, their progress from the Diagnostic score till the last Full Length Test attempted. Easy & uncomplicated, the Performance Tracker is available mainly in the form of a graph. Through the "Compare Your Score" tool, students can also compare their performance in any of the tests they have submitted. Graph of the sectionsis displayed to compare scores and zoom in on the weaker areas.

Overall, Performance Tracker is an attempt to provide students a comparative pictorial map of the journey the student has had regarding PSAT Prep.