Why Does the PSAT Matter?
The newly named and designed Digital PSAT/NMSQT, revamped in 2023 by the College Board, has not only become easier than ever to take, administer and score, but has also become even more important to an aspiring college student’s future! NMSQT stands for “National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test” meaning that students that score in the higher percentile will put themselves in positions to earn merit scholarships when applying to college. Oftentimes the PSAT had simply been seen as a trial run for students before they took the leap to the SAT or ACT the following year. While this is still true to a certain extent, the college board has now added an even greater incentive to score well on the new test with the addition of potential merit scholar honors.
When and Where do I Take the PSAT?
How is the Digital PSAT Different from the Old PSAT?
The largest difference between the two tests is – without a doubt – the change from a paper exam to a digital one. However, this significant change gives way to various smaller, yet equally impactful changes. An entirely digital test facilitates the grading process and hugely expedites the time it takes for students to receive their scores. Results from the old version of the PSAT often took a few weeks (even months) to be returned. The revamped 2023 version of the test allows for results to be returned in a matter of days! The digital nature of the test also allows it to be adaptive to each student’s level. As students work through the test, the skill level and difficulty of the test are actively tailored to the skill level of that specific student! The test as a whole has also shortened in both length and time. What used to be a 4 section, 170 minute test, is now a 2 section, 135 minute test*.
What Sections are on the PSAT?
What Does the Digital Math Section Look Like?
What does the Digital Reading Writing Section Look Like?
What Online Resources are there to Prep for the Digital PSAT?
The College Board offers a number of full length, adaptive digital PSAT’s through their website! There, you will be able to find general practice tests, section and question breakdowns courtesy of Khan Academy, as well as a practice app/software called Bluebook. While all options can be hugely beneficial, Bluebook does an amazing job at simulating the test and preparing students for test day. Although it is a bit more tedious to set up, it is fully worth the extra effort!