The College Workout

What to Do With Those PSAT Scores From Last Month

Amy Jasper Monday, January 14, 2013

What To Do With Those PSAT Scores From Last Month…

By: Beth Harrison - Owner and Primary Consultant, Prep for Success 

Let’s start with the facts- what is this PSAT/NMSQT really?

  • A shorter, slightly easier practice SAT
  • Offered in schools in October to Juniors, Sophomores and even some Freshmen
  • Scores are not sent to colleges, and do not affect admission, but schools can buy lists from the College Board based on certain score criteria, which is why you may see an uptick in mail/email from schools.
  • Comprised of the same multiple choice Critical Reading, Math, and Writing questions the SAT does but does NOT have the written essay that the SAT does
  • The PSAT is considerably shorter than the SAT. The SAT has 10 Sections: 3 Critical Reading, 3 Math, 2 Writing, 1 Essay, and 1 Experimental Section. This adds up to 3 hours and 45 minutes of testing. The PSAT has only 5 Sections: 2 Critical Reading, 2 Math, and 1 Writing. This adds up to 2 hours and 10 minutes of testing.

For most students, the PSAT is nothing more than a practice test that provides an occasion to learn about the SAT- what it will look like and how they might perform if they were to take the SAT. For a few students, the PSAT is a larger opportunity. The second half of the acronym PSAT/NMSQT stands for National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The PSAT is used as a qualifier for several scholarships, the two most prominent being the National Merit Scholarship and the National Achievement Scholarship.

While some great changes were made in 2010 to the way the College Board reported PSAT scores to make the data more accessible, it still may be daunting to decipher or to know what to do with the data from here. For juniors, now is the time to begin preparing for the SAT. Use this report to review the questions you missed and to inform your study plans. If you’re already doing well in some sections, don’t ignore them- these may be your best opportunities to see score increases. If you’re not achieving scores as high as you’d like, start studying now!

For more information on PSATs, SATs or the ACT, or to register for a PSAT Review Session, please contact Prep for Success by email at

PSAT Review Sessions are 3.5 hour long sessions that review questions from the actual exam and offer students strategies to improve their scores.

Saturday, January 19th 9:00am – 12:30pm


Recent Posts




    My College Fit
    Amy Jasper
    3711 Westerre Parkway, Suite D
    Richmond, VA 23233

    Phone: 804-368-1015


    Except as otherwise noted, the entire content and design of this website is Copyright © 2015, All Rights Reserved, by Frisco Websites/Short Story Marketing and its client who manages and updates this website (, and is subject to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 and other laws, as well as by the terms at Some images on this website are used with permission of their owners, and are licensed under a Creative Commons license. These images have been resized and cropped for suitable placement. See the image information for attribution. "Online Business Partner" and "Websites Under Your Control" are federally-registered trademarks of Frisco Websites/Short Story Marketing. ×