The PSAT is offered once each year in the month of October.
Students sign up for the PSAT/NMSQT at their local high school or at another high school in their community. This test is administered by high schools, not through test centers. Online registration for the PSAT/NMSQT is not available.
- For 2012 the PSAT was administered on Saturday October 20, 2012
- For 2013 the test will be administered on Saturday morning 8 a.m., October 19th at Oak Park High School.
- Registration will be done through the OPHS Student Store. It will begin in late September with Juniors (class of 2015) having first priority.
- Test results are typically received the week before our Holiday break in December.
So who should be taking the PSAT? The PSAT was originally created as a "practice" test to be taken by Juniors in the fall of the 11th grade year in preparation for taking the "real" SAT in the Spring. The PSAT's Score Report Plus is designed to help students determine their strengths and weaknesses by providing personalized feedback on academic skills and to help them determine what subjects to focus their preparation on for the "real" SAT - also known as the SAT Reasoning Test. Although the PSAT is based on curriculum that most high school students have taken through the beginning of their junior year - at Oak Park High School we have many 10th and even 9th grade students who are already pursuing advanced curriculum in mathematics (i.e. Algebra II or higher), along with Honors and/or AP Science, English and History courses. For these advanced students taking the PSAT in the 9th and 10th grades simply provides them valuable test-taking practice, and a very concrete way of tracking their academic growth over time. It is for these same reasons that our OPHS PFC also sponsors "Mock SAT" test-taking opportunities every year!
Click on the Mock ACT & SAT Tests hyperlink for more information about these test-taking practice opportunities.
The PSAT/NMSQT lasts 2 hours and 10 minutes.
CRITICAL READING OVERVIEW (FORMALLY CALLED VERBAL):
- There are two 25-minute sections
- Analogies have been eliminated
- Short reading passages have been added
The shift in emphasis parallels that of the New SAT—the verbal section became the critical reading section. Analogies were eliminated and replaced by additional critical reading questions. Sentence completions continue to be included on the test. Reading passages range from 500 to 800 words and include selections from the humanities, social studies, natural sciences, and literary fiction. The New PSAT/NMSQT also includes new shorter reading paragraphs similar to those on the New SAT.
- There are two 25-minute sections
- 2 student-produced response questions were added for a total of 10
The following math concepts are covered in the PSAT/NMSQT:
Number and Operations
- Arithmetic word problems
- Prime numbers
- Ratio and proportion
- Logical reasoning
- Sets (union, intersection, elements*)
- Properties of integers (even, odd, etc.)
- Counting techniques
- Sequences and series (including exponential growth*)
- Elementary number theory
Algebra and Functions
- Properties of exponents (including rational exponents*)
- Algebraic word problems
- Absolute value*
- Rational and radical equations*
- Equations of lines*
- Direct and inverse variation*
- Basic concepts of algebraic functions*
- Newly defined symbols based on commonly used operations
- Solutions of linear equations and inequalities
- Quadratic equations
- Simplifying algebraic expressions
Geometry and Measurement
- Area and perimeter of a polygon
- Area and circumference of a circle
- Volume of a box, cube, and cylinder
- Pythagorean Theorem and special properties of isosceles, equilateral, and right triangles
- Properties of parallel and perpendicular lines
- Coordinate geometry
- Geometric visualization
Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability
- Data interpretation
- Statistics (mean, median*, and mode*)
Note: An asterisk (*) indicates new topics appropriate for the PSAT/NMSQT but not necessarily at the same level as for the SAT. These topics were added, expanded, or now receive greater emphasis in the new PSAT/NMSQT.
Calculator Use on the PSAT:
Students may use a calculator on the math sections. No question on the test requires a calculator, so don't allow yourself to use the calculator on every question. Take a calculator you are comfortable using. Don't buy a new one just for the test. Decide how to solve each problem before deciding whether to use a calculator. Practice sample questions with a calculator on hand. Students will not be allowed to share calculators with other students. Approved calculators:
- four-function calculator
- scientific calculator
- graphing calculator
- Calculators NOT permitted:
- pocket organizer
- hand-held or laptop computer
- electronic writing pad or pen input device
- calculator with a QWERTY (typewriter-like) keypad
- calculator with paper tape
- calculator that makes noises or "talks"
- calculator that requires an outlet
One 30-minute writing section = 39 questions
14 Identifying sentence errors
20 Improving sentences
5 Improving paragraph questions
The multiple-choice questions on writing skills measure a student's ability to express ideas effectively in standard-written English, to recognize faults in usage and structure, and to use language with sensitivity to meaning.
The PSAT/NMSQT Has No Essay
Unlike the SAT, the PSAT/NMSQT tests all students (more than 2.5 million) during two days in October. Finding enough readers to evaluate this large volume of essays isn't feasible especially when, so many readers are now busy evaluating SAT essays.
For more information about the PSAT go to the College Board website at the following link: www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/about.html
All students who take the PSAT are given access to My College QuickStart a free, personalized college and career planning tool powered by your PSAT/NMSQT results.