Compare PSAT/NMSQT Specifications

beginning of content:

Get an overview of how the PSAT/NMSQT differs from the test students took before 2015. The first table compares the major features. The second table compares the number of questions and testing times in each part.

Major Features Compared

Comparison of the Major Features: Pre-2015 PSAT/NMSQT and New PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10
Category Pre-2015 PSAT/NMSQT New PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10

Total Testing Time

2 hours and 10 minutes 2 hours and 45 minutes
Components
  1. Critical Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Mathematics
  1. Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
    • Reading Test
    • Writing and Language Test
  2. Math
Important Features
  • 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)
  • Focus on the knowledge, skills, and understandings that research has identified as 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 (no penalty for guessing)
Score Reporting

 

  • Scale ranging from 60 to 240
  • Scale ranging from 20 to 80 for Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing

Scores will be reported on a shared common score scale with the SAT: The scale ranges for the PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 scores are 320–1520 for the total score, 160–760 for each of two section scores, and 8–38 for test scores.

Subscore Reporting None Subscores for every test, providing added insight for students, parents, educators, and counselors

Test Length and Timing Compared

Comparison of Test Length and Timing: Pre-2015 PSAT/NMSQT and New PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10
Pre-2015 PSAT/NMSQT New PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10
Component Time Allotted
(min.)
Number of Questions/
Tasks
Component Time Allotted
(min.)
Number of Questions/
Tasks
Critical Reading 50 48 Reading 60 47
Writing 30 39 Writing and Language 35 44
Mathematics 50 38 Math 70 48
Total 130 125 Total 165 139