New PSAT, Redesigned for 2015: The Complete Guide (2023)

New PSAT, Redesigned for 2015: The Complete Guide (1)

If you are a high school student planning to take the PSAT, take the redesigned PSAT. This new version of the test started in October 2015 and has been administered to all students across the country.

We will inform you about the format, rating and content of the PSAT and what you need to know to prepare. PSAT 2015 is not only an important step in preparing for the SAT exam, but also qualifies you for itNational Merit Awards and Scholarships.

Let's dive intoChanges to the format, scoring, and content of the redesigned PSATand what these changes mean for exam preparation.

format changes

The new redesigned PSAT is 35 minutes longer than the old PSAT. circulates2 hours and 45 minutesinstead of 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Instead of five multiple-choice answers, the PSAT now only offers four. This means you have a better chance of finding the right answer by guessing!

The table below breaks down the time and number of questions per section:

SectionTimenumber of questions
reading60 minutes48 questions
writing and language35 minutes44 questions
mathematics70 minutes47 questions
Together165 minutes139 questions

What format changes in the new PSAT mean for your preparation

So the new test is longerTrain concentration. Because the test is fairly new, there aren't many official practice tests. To date, the College Board has issued twoofficial PSAT samplesthat you can download and evaluate. Be aware of changes between this test and older versions.

New PSAT 1 practice test-Reply to explanations-Rate your test

New PSAT 2 practice test-Reply to explanations-Rate your test

Since you are limited with only two practice tests, it's a good idea to use older tests as welltest exam. If you practice with old full-size mock tests,Give yourself an extra sectionpractice taking tests for extended periods of time. Pay attention to your energy and attention as you exercise. Take short breaks and do whatever you need to do to stay focused during this time.

New PSAT tooit reminds me a lotnew satwhich was first conducted in March 2016. Both tests have very similar content, format and even scoring. Thanks to this, you can tooUse these 10 practice tests to prepare for the new SAT examwhile being aware of any differences between the new PSAT and the new SAT. (The College no longer makes tests 2 and 4 available on its website, but you can still access them using the links below.)

New SAT 1 practice test-Solution key

(Video) Episode 4: Comma Usage, New PSAT Writing

New SAT 2 practice test-Solution key

New SAT 3 practice test-Solution key

New SAT 4 practice test-Solution key

New SAT 5 practice test-Solution key

New SAT 6 practice test-Solution key

New SAT 7 practice test-Solution key

New SAT 8 practice test-Solution key

New SAT 9 practice test-Solution key

New SAT 10 practice test-Solution key

The new PSAT scoring system is designed to help you predict your SAT score. I will explain it belowChanges to the scoring systemfor both the new PSAT and the new SAT and how you can integrate this awareness into your studies.

changes in the assessment

The newly designed PSAT is rated on a scale of 320 to 1520.You can score 160 to 760 in math and 160 to 760 in evidence-based reading and writing.In addition to the results in these sections, you will also see this in the results reportSubgrades in math, reading, writing and languagebetween 8 and 38. This will give you a sense of where you are best and where there is room for improvement. Unlike the old PSAT, the redesigned PSAT hasNo penalties for wrong answers.

The SAT reverted to the 1600-point system it used before 2005. He now has a maximum total score of 800 in math and 800 in total evidence-based reading and writing. As I mentioned aboveYour PSAT score is intended to predict your SAT score.

Since then, the PSAT scale no longer goes back to exactly 1600The SAT is a more difficult test than the PSAT.While a PSAT score of 1300 suggests you can score around 1300 on the SAT, a great PSAT score does not necessarily guarantee excellence on the SAT.

The two rating scales agree, but the PSAT doesHe started downaccount for differences in difficulty. Please take this discrepancy into account when interpreting your PSAT scores from practice tests and the official test yourself.

(Video) Interpreting your Redesigned PSAT Score Report

Are you disappointed with your PSAT results? Do you want to improve your PSAT score by 150 points?We have an industry-leading PSAT preparation program. Built byHarvard alumni and SAT hits, programlearns about your strengths and weaknesseswith advanced statistics, and then adjusts the preparation program to ensure the most effective preparation.

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New PSAT, Redesigned for 2015: The Complete Guide (2)

What the scoring changes in the redesigned PSAT mean for your preparation

By eliminating the penalty for wrong answers, you no longer have to plan which questions to guess and which to leave blank.Give everyone your best guesseven if you're not sure. If you leave something blank, take enough time at the end of each section to fill in all your answers.

When you take the practice test, be sure to mark the random answers so you can review them at the end. To get the most out of practice tests, you really want to do thisanalyzeWhy did you miss the question?and what you need to do - review the content, work faster, etc. - to master this type of question next time.

Since the National Merit Scholarship Corporation considers the overall score and not section scores,All sections are important forQualification for the National Merit Semi-Finalist,Finalist, Isubsidies.

New PSAT, Redesigned for 2015: The Complete Guide (3)

Content changes

Changes made to the content of the PSATMatch the versions to the SAT.In general, the content is more evidence-based and contextual, with real-life scenarios and data analysis.Highlighted skills include in-depth analysis, interpreting a word or idea in context, and solving multi-level problems. visit "Passage Skillsfor all three sections of the College Council.

New PSAT, Redesigned for 2015: The Complete Guide (4)

Gone are the days of studying long lists of unknown contentvocabulary– the new PSAT (and SAT) will test youunderstand the meaning and connotation of the word in the context of the passage. Likewise, grammar questions will encourage you to repeat sentences in the context of passages rather than as standalone sentences.

All sections contain graphs and graphs that allow you to test your ability to interpret, describe and present data visually or orally. The following example is fromNew PSAT sample questions from the College Boardfor the math part.

New PSAT, Redesigned for 2015: The Complete Guide (5)

Math questions also include multi-level grid word problems. You will focusmore about algebra and data analysis and less about geometry. For other geometry problems, you need to solve problems with collections of areas, volumes, or lines, angles, and triangles.

(Video) Episode 1: Redundancy, New PSAT Writing

What does this mean for your preparation

Focus on improving your problem solving skills, interpreting data, and understanding grammar and vocabulary in context. These skills are more related to what you learn in the classroom and in real life. You can evolve themRead and write a lot and often, and pay attention to the presentation and analysis of data in math and science lessons.

As you read, take notes on the structure and organization of your work. Consider the theme, tone, style, etc. of the passage and make sure you can relate to specific verses that support your ideas.

Sense the different connotations of words in different contexts instead of memorizing vocabulary lists. For example, "brilliant" may mean "extremely intelligent" when describing a person, but implies "bright and vivid" when describing a color.

Many of the skills and knowledge tested are the same as in the old PSAT - understanding of literary terms and elements, in-depth analysis and interpretation, working knowledge of various mathematical concepts.

The new PSAT challenges you to go one step further: toSupport your answer with evidence, whether from a snippet or from a diagram, and dounderstand the relationship between words and numbers.

Don't stop there: check out our collectionfree trial questions and detailed testsfor PSAT and learn more about ithow to use old practice tests and materials to effectively prepare for the new PSAT.

PSAT Comparison Chart

Below is a table comparing the key points of the old version of the PSAT and the new version of the exam. This allows you to quickly spot some of the key differences between the two tests.

Former P.S.A.TNew PSAT
overall grading scale60-240320-1520
Section rating scalesCritical reading: 20-80
Mate: 20-80
Writing: 20-80
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 160-760
Mate: 160-760
time to test2 hours and 10 minutes2 hours and 45 minutes
Number of possible answers54
Guess the punishmentYou lose 1/4 point for each wrong answerNo contractual penalty

To find out more...

For more information on changes made by test vendors, seeCollege Council website. As this page discusses the PSAT and SAT together, you will see the similarities in these two redesigns.

Students taking the PSAT this fall will not have as much practice material as in previous courses, but you can still prepare very effectively and score high if you are aware of the changes. More practice materials for the new PSAT will be available over time.

What's next?

What scores are needed to qualify for? National Merit Scholarship? read aboutWhat scores qualify for the new PSAT rating scale?.

How do I get the National Merit Scholarship?We describedifferent types of scholarships and what you need to do to qualify.

Curious about the SAT changes introduced in 2016? Read our detailed guide to the redesigned SAT.

Would you like to achieve a perfect SAT score? Read what an excellent SAT scorer needs.

Would you like to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?For each test, we've written a guide to the top five strategies you need to improve your score. Download now for free:

New PSAT, Redesigned for 2015: The Complete Guide (6)

New PSAT, Redesigned for 2015: The Complete Guide (7)

(Video) The PSAT - Understanding Your Online Score Report
Do you have friends who also need help preparing for the exam?Share this article!

New PSAT, Redesigned for 2015: The Complete Guide (8)

Rebekah Safier

About the author

Rebecca earned her M.A. in Youth Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. With years of teaching and university counseling experience, she is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated summa cum laude from Tufts University and scored 99th percentile on the SAT.

Get free guides improve your SAT/ACT

(Video) Episode 7: Coordination & Subordination, New PSAT Writing


How did the PSAT change in 2015? ›

Changes in Format

The new, redesigned PSAT is 35 minutes longer than the old PSAT. It clocks in at 2 hours and 45 minutes, rather than 2 hours and 10 minutes. Instead of five multiple-choice answers, the PSAT now offers only four. This means you have a better chance of getting the answer right if you guess!

Has the PSAT changed since 2015? ›

Format and scoring

The PSAT changed its format and content in Fall 2015, to reflect the new SAT. The Reading and Writing Sections are combined into one section score, and the Math section now includes a portion in which usage of calculators is prohibited.

What was the PSAT out of in 2015? ›

As you read above, the PSAT has a minimum possible score of 320 and a maximum of 1520.

Has the PSAT changed since 2016? ›

The PSAT changed big time in the fall of 2015. And by big time, we mean testing time, questions, format, and scores were completely overhauled to reflect the new Redesigned SAT exam, which was first administered in the spring of 2016.

What is the max PSAT score 2015? ›

The total PSAT score range is 320-1520. This means the highest PSAT score you can get is a 1520.

Why is the PSAT out of 1520 instead of 1600? ›

These kids are capped at 1520. The PSAT does not contain the highest level difficulty questions that are found on the SAT. The College Board caps these students at 1520 because they don't know if these students would answer the highest difficulty level questions correctly or not.

Does the PSAT get harder every year? ›

Average PSAT scores will vary based on the grade level of the student taking the exam and, to a minimal degree, on the year in which the student takes the exam; in some years, the test may prove harder for students on average than in other years.

Did the PSAT format change? ›

The PSAT test will change to a digital format beginning in the fall of 2023. Schools and testing centers in the U.S. will offer the first digital SAT test in the spring of 2024.

Is 680 good for score on a PSAT? ›

We can define a "good" PSAT score as one that's higher than the 75th percentile of the user group. This means you scored equal to or higher than 75% of all other test takers. For juniors, 75th percentile scores are around 560 to 590 in each section, or about 1150 in total.

Is the PSAT out of 1520 or 1600? ›

The PSAT score range is 320-1520 in 10-point increments.

This composite range includes two score ranges of 160-760 for EBRW and Math. In terms of test scores, Reading, Writing, and Math are all scored separately on scales of 8-38.

Can I look up my old PSAT scores? ›

You can access your score online at Once you're logged in, the first thing you will see is your Total Score. This is the combination of your scores from the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math sections.

What if you get a 1520 on the PSAT? ›

In addition to feeling a great sense of personal achievement, getting a perfect PSAT score qualifies you for National Merit recognition. The top 1% of scorers, usually about 16,000 students across the US, are named National Merit Semifinalists. (In fact, a perfect 1520 would exceed even National Merit expectations!)

What year did the PSAT change? ›

The first administration of the redesigned PSAT was in October 2015. The content on the New PSAT is very similar to that which was on the PSAT in years past. The major difference is in how the concepts are tested and the steps students will have to take to solve problems correctly.

Is the PSAT changing in 2023? ›

Starting with the Fall 2023 exams, the paper version of the PSAT will no longer be offered and all PSATs will be administered in a digital format. If you're a junior in high school in Fall 2023, taking the PSAT in the new digital format will help you prep for the SAT.

What is the new PSAT out of? ›

The PSAT is divided into two main sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math. Each section is scored on a scale of 160-760, and your total is the sum of both sections.

What is a good PSAT score for Harvard? ›

In order to be on track for those scores on the SAT, students would have to earn a near-perfect score on the PSAT, which is a little shorter and easier than the SAT. That means a good PSAT score for students aiming at “Ivy Plus” schools like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT, and Duke would be at least 1450.

Is 930 a good PSAT score? ›

Average PSAT Scores: 920-1050

10th-grade students who scored between 920 and 1050 on the PSAT test will fall within the top 50% of all test takers.

What is the lowest PSAT score ever? ›

Students receive a scaled score ranging from 160 to 760 for each of the sections, with 160 being the lowest possible score and 760 being the highest possible score. The two scaled scores are added together to get the student's total PSAT score, with a total score range from 320 to 1520.

What score do I need on the PSAT to be a National Merit Scholar? ›

These selection index scores vary by state. The average cutoff score is approximately 215, but if you live in Wyoming or Montana, you might qualify with a lower score, whereas if you live in areas like Massachusetts, New Jersey, or D.C., you will likely need a higher score.

What PSAT score do you need for National Merit Semifinalist? ›

To be named a Semifinalist, you'll need a Selection Index score of 219. What score do you need on each section of the PSAT to achieve this score? As you read above, your Selection Index equals the sum of your three section test scores (each on a scale of 8-38) multiplied by 2.

What is a good PSAT score for Ivy League? ›

In other words, if your main priority is getting into the Ivy League, you should aim for a composite PSAT score anywhere between 1280 and 1520. If you're looking at less selective institutions, then the 80th percentile is a good benchmark.

Do colleges ever look at PSAT scores? ›

Colleges do not look at PSAT scores when making admissions decisions. But the PSAT serves two purposes in college admission. First, it gives your child a glimpse of how she'll do on the SAT. Second, a high score can qualify her for scholarship money.

Is it OK to fail PSAT? ›

Your acceptance or rejection into college is much more dependent on the SAT or ACT , so the short answer is “no,” colleges don't care at all about the PSAT. An abysmal score on the PSAT will not have any direct effect on your chances of getting into a college.

Is it worth guessing on the PSAT? ›

3) PSAT Test-Taking Strategies: Guessing

The worst that can happen on the PSAT is that you'll earn zero points on a question, which means you should always at least take a guess, even when you have no idea what to do.

Will the 2023 PSAT be digital? ›

Starting in fall 2023, all students taking the PSAT-related assessments will take the digital tests. SAT School Day and SAT weekend administrations in the U.S. will still be paper and pencil. Starting in spring 2024, all students will take the full SAT Suite of Assessments digitally.

Was the PSAT always out of 1520? ›

The College Board had indicated that the new PSAT would be scored out of 1600 points, but it has recently reversed course and decided to make 1520 the highest score.

Are all PSAT questions worth the same? ›

PSAT Scores - How PSAT Scoring Works

PSAT scores are calculated in much the same way as the new SAT scores: Students earn 1 point for each question answered correctly. Students neither lose nor gain points for questions answered incorrectly. Students neither lose nor gain points for questions that are skipped.

Is 1280 a bad PSAT score? ›

Students need a 1280 to be in the top 10%. In order to be in the top 3% of test takers, students need to score a 1400 on the PSAT. The top 1% is even tougher: students need a 1450 on the PSAT to make the top percentile.

What is the most average PSAT score? ›

The average PSAT/NMSQT score is about 920. A score between 1210 and 1520 puts you in the top 10% of test takers. The PSAT/NMSQT and the SAT are very similar tests, so your score on the PSAT/NMSQT can give you an idea of how you'll do when you take the SAT.

Does the PSAT matter in 11th grade? ›

Timing the test. Students should be sure to take the PSAT/NMSQT in 11th grade if they are interested in qualifying for the National Merit Scholarship or any other scholarships offered through the test.

Can you take the PSAT 2 times? ›

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.

Is the PSAT curved? ›

The curves of over 10 released PSAT exams have been analyzed to bring you the most accurate prediction of your scores. For any given raw score, the entire range of scaled scores across all curves are computed along with the percentage of times each one has shown up in the past.

Does a 1400 PSAT qualify for National Merit? ›

Does a 1400 PSAT Qualify for National Merit? Based on the scores of real grade 11 students who took the PSAT, a score of 1400 puts you in the 97th percentile. You may not qualify for the National Merit Scholarship with this score: it also depends on the cut-off scores of your state.

What index score qualifies for National Merit? ›

To determine who qualifies for National Merit, NMSC uses a scale called the Selection Index. To get this, NMSC adds your Math, Reading, and Writing section scores, which each fall between 8 and 38, and then multiplies that sum by 2. Thus, the PSAT NMSC Selection Index ranges from 48 to 228.

Do teachers see PSAT scores? ›

Educators can access detailed score data on the K–12 reporting portal. The portal provides access to student results for the entire SAT Suite, including the PSAT/NMSQT.

How do I check my PSAT score without College Board? ›

If you don't have a College Board account or have trouble accessing your scores, your guidance counselor can give you an access code for your online PSAT score report. Also, you should receive an old-fashioned paper score report at school by the end of January.

Can I get into Harvard with a 1520 SAT? ›

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1460, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1580. In other words, a 1460 places you below average, while a 1580 will move you up to above average. There's no absolute SAT requirement at Harvard, but they really want to see at least a 1460 to have a chance at being considered.

What is an impressive PSAT score? ›

A good PSAT score is a composite score of 1070 or higher, which puts you in the top 25% of all PSAT test takers.

What happens if you get a perfect PSAT score? ›

Achieving a PSAT max score makes you feel extremely proud of yourself and prepares you for a National Merit distinction. National Merit Semifinalists are the top 1% of test takers, representing typically 16,000 students across the US. (A perfect 1520 would even surpass National Merit requirements!)

Can seniors still take the PSAT? ›

You cannot take the PSAT as a senior, though you can take it for practice as a sophomore (or even as a freshman). Out of the million-plus PSAT takers, 55,000 of the highest scorers make it into the initial pool of National Merit Commended Scholars.

Why do seniors take the PSAT? ›

Each year, over 3.5 million high school students take the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, also known as the PSAT . This test is a good indicator of how you'll perform on the SAT , while determining your eligibility for a National Merit Scholarship.

What year does PSAT count for National Merit? ›

NMSC will use the student's Selection Index score from the PSAT/NMSQT taken in the student's third year of grades 9 through 12 to determine the expected level of recognition.

What PSAT score qualifies for National Merit 2023? ›

To state the obvious, some of the 50 U.S. states are obviously far more competitive than others—and colleges will keep this in mind during the admission process. The main qualification for National Merit is a high PSAT score (out of 1520). Thus, a high SAT score (out of 1600) will in most cases serve the same purpose.

What is the difference between the old and new PSAT? ›

Unlike the old PSAT, the redesigned PSAT gives no penalties for wrong answers. The SAT returned to the 1600 scoring system it used back in the day, before 2005. It now has a maximum composite score of 800 for Math and 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing combined.

Will the SAT be removed 2023? ›

The paper-and-pencil SAT is no longer available for international students in 2023. For US students, the SAT will switch to a fully digital format beginning in 2024.

Is the PSAT going away? ›

Rather than seeing the PSAT cancelled outright, College Board is trying to provide schools with additional options. It recently added a January 26th, 2021 test date and allows high schools to offer the test on any or all of the 4 PSAT dates (10/14, 10/17, 10/29, and 1/26).

When was the last time the PSAT changed? ›

The PSAT changed its format and content in Fall 2015. Originally, each of the three sections was scored on a scale of 20 to 80 points, adding up to a maximum composite score of 240 points.

Is 990 a good PSAT score? ›

For most students, a good PSAT score is above the 75th percentile, or a 1060. Sophomores can raise their scores by taking the PSAT again in their junior year. The PSAT is a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

What are the changes to the PSAT? ›

The PSAT will change first.

In the fall of 2023, students who want to take the PSAT–sophomores or juniors interested in participating in the National Merit Scholarship – will take the new version of the test. Like previous PSATs, this version will also resemble the actual SAT but will be slightly shorter and easier.

What year is best to take PSAT? ›

Most students take the test in 11th grade, but you could take it in ninth and/or 10th grade for extra practice. Note that only juniors who take the PSAT will be considered for a National Merit Scholarship — sophomores do not qualify.

What PSAT score is National Merit 2023? ›

To state the obvious, some of the 50 U.S. states are obviously far more competitive than others—and colleges will keep this in mind during the admission process. The main qualification for National Merit is a high PSAT score (out of 1520).

What score do you have to get on the PSAT to be a National Merit Scholar? ›

PSAT/NMSQT Cutoffs by State
U.S. State2023 Cutoff
47 more rows
Nov 15, 2022


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