Purpose
The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a standardized test administered by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation that assesses reading, writing and math. If the student takes the test in the 11th grade, the scores from the PSAT/NMSQT are used to determine eligibility and qualification for the National Merit Scholarship Program. The scores are also good indicators of how the student will perform on college entrance exams such as the SAT.

Students Tested
All District 91 students are given the opportunity to take the PSAT free of charge in the fall of their sophomore year. The test is not required for graduation but is given as a benefit to the students to assess their college readiness.

Structure and Format
The PSAT measures performance in reading, writing and math. The test consists of 5 sections. The two 25-minute reading sections include reading passages and sentence completion. The one 30-minute writing section includes multiple-choice questions on identifying errors and improving grammar and usage. The two 25-minute math sections include questions on arithmetic, algebra and geometry. The total test time is 2 hours and 10 minutes. The PSAT has a possible score of 240. Qualifying scores for the National Merit Scholarship vary from year to year.

College and Career Readiness Benchmarks
The PSAT/NMSQT College and Career Readiness Benchmarks are the scores that students should meet or exceed to be considered on track to be college ready. The methodology for calculating the PSAT/NMSQT benchmarks mirrors the calculation of the SAT benchmarks. The current benchmarks are the 10th- or 11th-grade PSAT/NMSQT scores that predict, with a 65 percent probability, a first year college grade point average of 2.67 or higher.

Learn more about PSAT