Compare PSAT 8/9 and PSAT/NMSQT: Writing and Language

beginning of content:
Comparison of the Writing and Language Test
Content Specifications: PSAT 8/9  and
Redesigned PSAT/NMSQT
Element PSAT 8/9 Redesigned PSAT/NMSQT
Time Allotted

30 minutes

35 minutes

Passage Word Count

1,500 words total from 4 passages; 350–400 words per passage

1,700 words total from 4 passages; 400–450 words per passage

Questions Number % of Test Number % of Test
Total 40 100% 44 100%
Expression of Ideas 24 questions 60% 24 questions 55%
Standard English Conventions 16 questions 40% 20 questions 45%

Words in Context

 

(Across Reading and Writing and Language Tests)

8 questions
 
20% 8 questions
 
18%

Command of Evidence

 

(Across Reading and Writing and Language Tests)

8 questions
 
20% 8 questions
 
18%
Analysis in History/Social Studies

 

(Across Math, Reading, and Writing and Language Tests)

6 questions 13% 6 questions 14%

Analysis in Science

 

(Across Math, Reading, and Writing and Language Tests)

6 questions 13% 6 questions 14%
Passage Contents Number % of Test Number % of Test
Careers 10 questions 25% 1 passage; 11 questions 25%
History/Social Studies 10 questions 25% 1 passage; 11 questions 25%
Humanities 10 questions 25% 1 passage; 11 questions 25%
Science 10 questions 25% 1 passage; 11 questions 25%
Graphics Number Number
1 or more graphics in 1 or more passages and/or questions 1 or more graphics in 1 or more passages and/or questions
Text Types Number % of Test Number % of Test
Argument 1 passage 25% 1–2 passages 25%-50%
Informative/ Explanatory Text 2 passages 50% 1–2 passages 25%-50%
Nonfiction Narrative 1 passage 25% 1 passage 25%
Text and Graphical Complexity
Text Complexity A range from grades 6–10 across 4 passages A range from grades 9–10 to postsecondary entry across 4 passages
Graphical Data Representations

 

(tables, graphs, charts, etc.)

Basic  Basic to somewhat challenging (low to moderate data density, few variables, simple to moderately challenging interactions)