What is the New Digital PSAT?

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!

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?

As alluded to in the name, the new Digital PSAT is exactly that: 100% digital! On the day of the test, students, through the help of proctors at their schools, will be guided through a series of steps that will allow them to download the software that contains the test. Once done, students will begin the test taking! As for when the Digital PSAT will be taken, that decision is completely up to each individual school! Given the digital nature, the test does not need to be administered nationwide on the same day as it was in the past. Instead, the College Board has opened up a window of test taking between October 2nd thru October 31st. Make sure you check with your school to find out the date that applies to you!

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?

The previous version of the PSAT saw students complete 4 sections: Reading, Writing and Language, Math (with a calculator), Math (without a calculator). In order to streamline the test, the 2023 version of the test only includes two sections: Math and Reading/Writing. Each section of the test is scored between 160-760, meaning that the highest score a student can make is 1520.

What Does the Digital Math Section Look Like?

The math section of the Digital PSAT will look more or less like sections of old in terms of content; however, students will now have access to a built in calculator that they will be able to use for all of the problems. The College Board’s decision to no longer separate the math sections allows for a more dynamic test taking experience as students are now given both more tools and time to solve each question. It is also worth noting that this new version of the math section will have slightly fewer word problems than tests of the past.

What does the Digital Reading Writing Section Look Like?

Similar to the Math section, the Reading and Writing section of the digital PSAT has also been condensed and streamlined. Instead of breaking the sections up into 2, the 2023 version will have students complete a singular section that contains much shorter passages. Students will also only be asked 1 question per passage.

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!

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