The PSAT/NMSQT 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 the College Board's national testing centers. Online registration for the PSAT/NMSQT is not available.
In 2015, Students will take the redesigned PSAT/NMSQT at school on one of these two dates:
- Wednesday, Oct. 14 (Recommended test date)
- Wednesday, Oct. 28 (Alternate test date)
The College realizes that school-day testing represents a change for school that may impact instructional time and create scheduling challenges, and they are committed to offering a Saturday administration again in the 2016-17 school year.
Feedback from around the country was critical in the College Board's decision to launch the redesigned PSAT/NMSQT prior to the redesigned SAT, giving students a chance to practice and get comfortable with new item formats before the first administration of the redesigned SAT in spring 2016. Meeting this schedule, however, meant that the College Board was able to support only two test dates in 2015, instead of offering two test dates and a makeup date as in the past. However, Saturday Administration will return in 2016!
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.
Note: Beginning in October 2015 (for the class of 2016), students will be taking the new "Redesigned PSAT." Please see the section below for more information.
The Redesigned PSAT/NMSQT is aligned with the redesigned SAT and will launch in October 2015. Like the SAT, the redesigned PSAT/NMSQT will measure the skills and knowledge that are essential for college readiness and success.
Taking the Current PSAT/NMSQT
The current PSAT/NMSQT continues to serve students in the high school class of 2016 and younger by:
- Helping them improve skills necessary for college success.
- Raising awareness about college planning and engaging them in the process.
- Supporting access to AP through AP Potential™.
- Providing educators with tools to monitor student performance and adjust curricula.
- Providing college planning resources such as Student Search Service® and My College QuickStart™.
In addition, the PSAT/NMSQT will continue to help students in the 11th grade prepare for the SAT and compete for scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation in the fall.
The College Board is preparing concordance tables so students and educators will be able to relate scores on the current PSAT/NMSQT to scores on the redesigned PSAT/NMSQT.
About the Redesigned PSAT/NMSQT
The PSAT/NMSQT is an important part of the College Board’s effort to deliver opportunity to all students. The redesigned exam will:
- Support college readiness and success for all students, with a clear focus on the skills and knowledge that matter most for college success.
- Encourage students to take full advantage of the opportunities they’ve earned through their hard work.
Fewer than half of the students who take the SAT are college ready. The redesigned PSAT/NMSQT will provide educators with an early opportunity to:
Overview Comparison: Current and Redesigned PSAT/NMSQT:
- Measure and follow student performance.
- Pinpoint areas for development.
- Prepare students for the redesigned SAT.
This high-level comparison between the current and redesigned PSAT/NMSQT highlights major design features of the two exams. The first table provides a comparison of the major features, the second table provides a comparison by test, and the third table compares the score components. It is important to note that while the information in these tables represents our best understanding of the nature and features of the redesign, some specific elements, such as timing, length, and reported scores, are subject to revision based on ongoing research. For even more information about the Redesigned PSAT go to: https://www.collegeboard.org/delivering-opportunity/redesigned-psat-nmsqt?ep_ch=PR&ep_mid=10940153&ep_rid=38378130
|Category||Current PSAT/NMSQT||Redesigned PSAT/NMSQT|
|Total Testing Time*|
*Subject to research
|2 hours and 10 minutes||2 hours and 45 minutes |
- Critical Reading
- Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
- Reading Test
- Writing and Language Test
- Emphasis on general reasoning skills
- Emphasis on vocabulary, often in limited contexts
- Complex scoring (a point for a correct answer and a deduction for an incorrect answer; blank responses have no impact on scores)
- Continued emphasis on reasoning alongside a clearer, stronger focus on the knowledge, skills, and understandings most important for college and career readiness and success
- Greater emphasis on the meaning of words in extended contexts and on how word choice shapes meaning, tone, and impact
- Rights-only scoring (a point for a correct answer but no deduction for an incorrect answer; blank responses have no impact on scores)
*Subject to research
- Scale ranging from 60 to 240
- Scale ranging from 20 to 80 for Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing
- Some scores will be reported on the same scale used for the SAT: this scale ranges from 400 to 1600 for the composite score, 200-800 for two area scores, and 10-40 for test scores
|Subscore Reporting||None||Subscores for every test, providing added insight for students, parents, educators, and counselors|
Comparison of Test Length and Timing: Current and Redesigned PSAT/NMSQT
|Current PSAT/NMSQT||Redesigned PSAT/NMSQT|
|Component||Time Allotted (min.)||# of Questions/ Tasks||Component||Time Allotted (min.)||# of Questions/ Tasks|
|Writing and Language|
Comparison of Score Components: Current and Redesigned PSAT/NMSQT
|Component||Current PSAT/NMSQT||Redesigned PSAT/NMSQT|
|Test Scores||3||3 |