All About the PSAT 8/9
The PSAT 8/9 is designed to be taken as eighth or ninth graders start their high school journey. Its structure, sections, and timing are the same as the PSAT 10, PSAT/NMSQT and SAT. The Reading and Writing and Math sections measure the knowledge and skills your child is learning in school—the same knowledge and skills that matter most for college and career readiness. See what’s on the test.
Beginning in fall 2023, the PSAT 8-9 is going digital. Find out what to expect.
Why the PSAT 8/9 is important
Taking the PSAT 8/9 can help your child set and achieve their goals. With your child’s results, they can:
Know where they are—and where they want to go. As your child begins their high school journey, results from the PSAT 8/9 can help set a baseline. You and their teachers will know what skills and knowledge they need to practice so they can continue to improve.
Find out what AP Courses might be a good fit for them. Students who take an AP course are better positioned to succeed in future high school classes and in college. Your child may not realize that they’re ready to take college level courses and that they have the potential to succeed. Using their personalized view of AP Potential™, found in their score report, you’ll get recommendations for certain courses that may be a good fit for your child.
Explore college and career options. As they think about their plans for life after high school, BigFuture has information to help. They’ll use it to get personalized guidance based on their scores, search for colleges that interest them and save their favorites to their own list, and explore careers that match their interests and skills.
Track their progress. As they continue in high school, they’ll take other tests in the SAT Suite of Assessments, including PSAT 10, PSAT/NMSQT and/or the SAT. Because all these tests measure the same knowledge and skills, you’ll be able to see your child’s improvement over time.
- The PSAT 8/9 tests your child’s reading, writing, and math skills.
- The questions on the PSAT 8/9 are grade-appropriate for eighth and ninth graders.
- PSAT 8/9 scores aren’t sent to colleges.
- Schools choose when the PSAT 8/9 is offered.
- The only way your child can sign up for the PSAT 8/9 is through their school—not through the College Board. Each school’s signup process differs, so talk to your child’s school counselor to learn more.
- If your child needs testing accommodations, speak to their school counselor.
- The PSAT 8/9 doesn’t qualify students for the National Merit® Scholarship Program.
- Your child’s school may cover the cost of taking the PSAT 8/9. Talk to your child’s school counselor to find out.
How to Prepare for the PSAT 8/9
Because the purpose of the PSAT 8/9 is to identify the areas students need to focus on and set a starting point for progress, your child doesn’t have to do anything special to prepare for the test.
If your child does the following three things, they’ll be ready to take the PSAT 8/9:
- Pays attention in class
- Completes their homework
- Asks for help when they need it
To become familiar with the test and its format, students can download the Bluebook™ testing app and head to the Practice and Prepare section. They can explore the tools and features of the app and try a few sample questions in the test preview or take a full-length practice test.
After the PSAT 8/9
Your child will get a PDF score report from their school. (If they don’t, they can ask their school counselor for it.) And students aged 13 or older can log into their personal College Board account at studentscores.collegeboard.org to access their score, get additional insights, and then explore BigFuture.
Due to student privacy laws, students who are under 13 cannot create an online account with College Board. Therefore, schools will need to be responsible for sharing score reports directly with students who are under 13. Read the College Board’s privacy statement.
Schools can either:
- Show those students their online score report.
- Print the score report from the K–12 Score Reporting Portal. Depending on local data privacy laws and pending parent permission, educators may choose to email the PDF of the score report to the parent.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should my child prepare to take the PSAT 8/9?
Your child doesn’t need to study for the PSAT 8/9. The best way they can prepare is to pay attention in class and do their homework. The test is meant to assess the skills they are currently learning in school.
Can homeschooled students take the PSAT 8/9?
Homeschooled students can request to take the PSAT 8/9 at a local school.