The Parents Guide to PSAT/NMSQT
The PSAT/NMSQT is a standardized test that 11th graders (and some 10th graders) take in October. Like the SAT, it measures the knowledge and skills in reading, writing, and math students learn in the classroom—the same knowledge and skills your child needs to succeed in college and career.
- The primary date for the 2022 PSAT/NMSQT was Wednesday, October 12, while some students took the test on Saturday, October 15 or Tuesday, October 25. See more PSAT/NMSQT test dates.
- Students sign up for the PSAT/NMSQT at their school—not online. See how homeschooled students can sign up and take the test at a local school.
- By taking the PSAT/NMSQT as a junior, students may meet the requirements to enter the National Merit® Scholarship Program, an academic competition for recognition and scholarships. Additionally, the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, and PSAT 10 connect students to another $300 million in college scholarships for students across major demographics. Learn more about the scholarships.
- The PSAT/NMSQT has three parts: the Reading Test, the Writing and Language Test, and the Math Test. See what's on the test.
- PSAT/NMSQT scores are available online in December. Here's how your child can see their scores.
- We never send PSAT/NMSQT scores to colleges.
- If your child qualifies for a PSAT/NMSQT fee waiver, they take the test for free. After they take the PSAT/NMSQT, your child may also be eligible for other fee waiver benefits, including 2 free SATs, unlimited free SAT score sends to colleges, waived college application fees at participating colleges and more. Learn more about fee waivers.
Why the PSAT/NMSQT Is Important
When your child takes the PSAT/NMSQT, they open the door to more benefits than you might think.
- It connects students to more than $300 million in scholarships, including the National Merit® Scholarship Program. If your child opts into our free Student Search Service®, scholarship providers will invite them to apply.
- It's excellent practice for the SAT. Both tests measure the same knowledge and skills and ask the same types of questions, so PSAT/NMSQT takers will know what to expect on the SAT.
- It's the first step to a free, personalized SAT study plan. Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy® uses your child's PSAT/NMSQT score to create a customized SAT study plan with sample questions that focus on areas where they need help.
- It shows student progress on the road to college. The PSAT/NMSQT is part of the SAT Suite of Assessments, a series of tests beginning in eighth grade that shows your child and their teachers whether your child is on track for college.
- It shows which Advanced Placement Program® (AP) courses your child is ready for. The PSAT/NMSQT Score Report indicates which college-level AP courses your child has the potential to succeed in.
Read More About It
- For Students: Scholarships and Recognition
- About the SAT Suite of Assessments
- Parent's Guide to Official SAT Practice
- For Students: Discover Your AP Potential
How to Sign Up
The only way your child can sign up for the PSAT/NMSQT is through their high school. Each school's signup process differs, so your child should talk to their school counselor to learn more.
Some students pay a small fee to take the PSAT/NMSQT, but many students have test-related fees covered in full or in part by their school. If your child qualifies for a PSAT/NMSQT fee waiver, they test for free. For more information, talk to your child's school counselor.
Read More About It
How to Practice
The best way your child can prepare for the PSAT/NMSQT is to pay attention in their high school classes and study the course material. Students who do well in school are likely to do well on the PSAT/NMSQT.
Because the PSAT/NMSQT and the SAT focus on the same subject areas and ask the same types of questions, your child can use Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy to practice for the PSAT/NMSQT. It's a free, interactive study tool that provides a personalized practice plan that focuses on exactly what your child needs to stay on track for college.
Your child can download and print official PSAT/NMSQT practice tests.
PSAT/NMSQT scores range from 320 to 1520 and are on the same score scale as the SAT. This means that a score of 1100 on the PSAT/NMSQT is equivalent to a score of 1100 on the SAT. The only difference is that SAT scores range from 400 to 1600, because the difficulty level of the questions is higher than on the PSAT/NMSQT.
After your child takes the October PSAT/NMSQT, their scores will be available online in mid-December. If your child has a College Board online account, they'll get an email saying their scores are ready to view on the Student Score Reports website. If they don't, they can talk to their school counselor to get their scores.
Who Sees PSAT/NMSQT Scores
We don't send PSAT/NMSQT scores to colleges. We only send your child’s PSAT/NMSQT score to:
- Their school (always), school district (often), and state (often)
- National Merit Scholarship Corporation
- Select scholarship and recognition programs (your child may opt out of)
If you want to log in yourself to see your child's score report, use the email and password your child used when they set up their College Board online account.
Once your child gets their score report, they should sit down with you and go over it. That way, you both know what to focus on to be ready for college. Score reports also indicate suitable AP or grade-level courses to take in the future.
Read More About It
Frequently Asked Questions
How many times can a student take the PSAT/NMSQT?
Most students take the PSAT/NMSQT once—in 11th grade. They can take it up to three times in high school but only once a year. Scholarship programs only look at the junior year PSAT/NMSQT score.
Can ninth graders take the PSAT/NMSQT?
Yes, but they won't be eligible to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program. The PSAT/NMSQT is designed for 10th and 11th graders.
Some schools offer the PSAT 8/9, which tests the same skills as the PSAT/NMSQT, but in ways that are appropriate for earlier grade levels. Check with your child's school counselor to see if your school offers the PSAT 8/9.
Does the PSAT/NMSQT have an essay?
No, the PSAT/NMSQT does not have an essay.