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The PSAT/NMSQT test (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is a practice test for the SAT2 test. Although this standardized test is optional, high school juniors must take the PSAT/NMSQT test if they want to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship.

This 2 hour and 10 minute test covers the following:
   •Critical Reading

Most test questions are multiple choice, although the math section includes some open-answer questions.

Getting Ready

Check for PSAT/NMSQT study materials at your local library or bookstore. Here are some other ways to prepare:

   •Ask your guidance counselor for a copy of the "Official Student Guide to the PSAT/NMSQT."

   •Review sample test questions.

Think you're ready for the real thing?

The PSAT/NMSQT test is generally offered twice in the Fall—your guidance counselor will know the specific dates. You must sign up for the PSAT/NMSQT test through your school. The test fee is usually less than $20, but it can vary by location.

Scores to Aim For

Your total PSAT/NMSQT score can range from 60 to 240 (20 to 80 for each section). To qualify for a National Merit Scholarship, you generally need over 200 (although this cutoff can change from year to year).

Keep in mind that the PSAT/NMSQT test is a practice test. Schools rarely look at your PSAT/NMSQT scores, and PSAT/NMSQT scores are not a requirement for admissions.

Don't worry if you didn't score as well as you would have liked. You still have time to prepare for the SAT test.

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