PSAT/NMSQT Information Test-taking Student Practice Test .



About College BoardCollege Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects studentsto college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, College Board was createdto expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is madeup of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated topromoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, College Board helps morethan seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college throughprograms and services in college readiness and college success—including the SAT and the Advanced Placement Program . The organization also serves the educationcommunity through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators, andschools. For further information, visit National Merit ScholarshipCorporation (NMSC)NMSC is an independent, not-for-profit organization that operates withoutgovernment assistance. NMSC conducts the National Merit Scholarship Program,an annual academic competition for recognition and college scholarships. ThePSAT/NMSQT is the screening test for high school students who wish to participatein the National Merit Scholarship Program.If you have questions about any aspect of the National Merit Scholarship Program,including student participation requirements, the selection process, and awardsoffered, see the NMSC section on the flip side of this publication.The PSAT/NMSQTThe Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT )is co-sponsored by College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Itis administered for College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation byEducational Testing Service (ETS). Contact the PSAT/NMSQT office if you havesuggestions, questions, or comments about test registration, administration, or scorereports. If you wish to withdraw your answer sheet from scoring, or if you wish toreport test administration irregularities, you must notify the test coordinator or thePSAT/NMSQT office immediately.PSAT/NMSQT Customer ServiceYou can reach us from 8 a.m. (9 a.m. mid-June to September) to 7 p.m. Eastern Time,Monday to Friday.PHONE: 866-433-7728INTERNATIONAL: 1-212-713-8105EMAIL: psathelp@info.collegeboard.orgMAIL: PSAT/NMSQTP.O. Box 6720Princeton, NJ 08541-672022019 PSAT/NMSQTStudent Guide

Contents5Using This Guide14After Test Day5PSAT/NMSQT Test Dates and Fee14Test Fairness Review5What the PSAT/NMSQT Measures14Test Question Inquiries5How the PSAT/NMSQT Is Organized14Useful Resources6How the PSAT/NMSQT Is Scored6What Scores You Will Receive15Evidence-Based Reading and Writing15Reading Test Overview7Before Test Day16Sample Reading Test Materials7Create a College Board Account23Writing and Language Test Overview7If You Need Testing Accommodations24Sample Writing and Language Test Materials7Student Search Service8How to Prepare31Math9Instant Practice Test Scoring withScan and Score31Math Test Overview31Calculator Use32Answering Student-Produced ResponseQuestions10On Test Day10Items to Bring for Testing32Tips for the Math Test10Test Security and Fairness Policies32Sample Math Test Materials11Phones and Electronic Devices Policy33Math Test – No Calculator Questions12Taking the Test37Math Test – Calculator Questions12Protecting Your Privacy: Use of StudentInformation41What You Need to Know About Takingthe PSAT/NMSQT41PSAT/NMSQT Terms and Conditions 2019 College Board. College Board, Advanced Placement Program, Advanced Placement, SAT, Student Search Service, and the acorn logo areregistered trademarks of College Board. PSAT/NMSQT is a registered trademark of College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation. NationalMerit and the corporate “Lamp of Learning” logo are federally registered service marks of National Merit Scholarship Corporation. NMSC sectionpages 1–24 2019 National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The passages for sample questions have been adapted from published material. The ideascontained in them do not necessarily represent the opinions of College Board, National Merit Scholarship Corporation, or Educational Testing Service.BigFuture and SAT Subject Tests are trademarks owned by College Board. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.Visit College Board on the web: Academy is a registered trademark in the United States and other jurisdictions.Student Guide2019 PSAT/NMSQT3

42019 PSAT/NMSQTStudent Guide

PSAT/NMSQT Test Dates and FeeUsing This GuideUsing This GuideTaking the PSAT/NMSQT is a great way to findout how ready you are for college and career.The PSAT/NMSQT is also the qualifying test for entryto the National Merit Scholarship Program (describedon the flip side of this guide). Just as important, takingthe PSAT/NMSQT connects you to College Boardprograms and services that can propel you toward theopportunities you’ve earned through your own hardwork. We’ve created this guide to help you: Become familiar with the test so that you’re notsurprised or confused on test day. A completepractice test is included in this guide. Learn the test directions. The directions foranswering the questions in this guide are the sameas those on the actual test. Review the sample questions. The more familiaryou are with the question formats, the morecomfortable you’ll feel when you see similarquestions on the actual test. In particular, be sureto practice writing answers to the student-producedresponse questions on the Math Test later inthis guide. Find additional sample questions Understand how the tests are scored. Be aware of what you need to know about takingthis test. Terms and conditions and other testsecurity and fairness policies can be found after thesample questions.PSAT/NMSQTTest Dates and FeeHere are the test dates for 2019: Primary Test Date: Wednesday, October 16 Saturday Test Date: Saturday, October 19 Alternate Test Date: Wednesday, October 30The fee for the 2019 PSAT/NMSQT is 17, but youmight not have to pay it—some schools cover all orpart of the cost for their students. Schools sometimescharge an additional fee for administrative costs.Juniors from income-eligible families may be able to getfee waivers from College Board.What the PSAT/NMSQTMeasuresThe PSAT/NMSQT is focused on the skills andknowledge at the heart of education. It measures: What you learn in high school. What you need to succeed in college and careertraining.The same habits and choices that lead to success inschool will help you get ready for the PSAT/NMSQT.The best way to prepare for the test is to: Take challenging courses.Do your homework.Prepare for tests and quizzes.Ask and answer lots of questions.How the PSAT/NMSQTIs OrganizedThe PSAT/NMSQT has three tests: the Reading Test,the Writing and Language Test, and the Math Test.The tests break down like this:Time Allotted(min.)Number ofQuestionsReading6047Writing andLanguage3544Math7048Total165139ComponentAs part of scoring, every test goes through an equatingprocess. Equating is a statistical process we use toensure that scores mean the same thing no matterwhich version of the test you take or when you take it.In order to assist with future testing, College Board mayconduct research studies in connection with the testingof a subset of students.Also, the test occasionally includes test questionsfor research purposes. These questions may appearin any of the test sections, and testing time will beextended by 20 minutes so students have time toanswer them. These questions will not be included incomputing your scores. Students must complete allsections of the test. If you leave before dismissal, yourscores will be canceled.Student Guide2019 PSAT/NMSQT5

Using This GuideHow the PSAT/NMSQT Is ScoredHow the PSAT/NMSQT Is ScoredAll multiple-choice questions are scored the same way: one point for each correctanswer and zero points for incorrect answers. No points are subtracted for incorrectanswers or answers left blank. Hard questions count the same as easier questions.You won’t lose any points for guessing, so try to answer every question. The tablebelow shows you all the scores you’ll receive on the PSAT/NMSQT.PSAT/NMSQT Score ReportedDetailsScore RangeTotal ScoreSum of the two section scores320–1520Section Scores (2) Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Math160–760Test Scores (3) Reading Writing and Language Math8–38Cross-Test Scores (2) Analysis in History/Social Studies Analysis in Science8–38Based on selected questions inthe Reading Test, Writing andLanguage Test, and Math Test. Thesescores show how well you use yourskills to analyze texts and solveproblems in these subject areas.Subscores (7) Reading and Writing and Language:1–15Command of Evidence and Words inContext Writing and Language: Expression ofIdeas and Standard English Conventions Math: Heart of Algebra, Problem Solvingand Data Analysis, and Passport toAdvanced MathNMSC Selection Index ScoreNational Merit Scholarship Corporation(NMSC) uses this score (calculated bydoubling the sum of the Reading, Writingand Language, and Math Test scores)as an initial screen of entrants to itsNational Merit Scholarship Program.What Scores YouWill ReceiveFor further information about the Selection Indexscore, see the National Merit Scholarship Programsection on the flip side of this guide.Your paper score report will include a total score,section scores, and test scores. The online scorereport will include cross-test scores and subscores aswell. You’ll be able to see not only how you did overall,but also where your strengths are and where youneed to improve. Once you get your score report, to learn more aboutwhat these scores mean.Your score report also includes a message about yourpotential for success in AP courses based on yourscores. There’s also some helpful advice about whento take the SAT .Your score report will include the NMSC SelectionIndex score, which NMSC uses as an initial screen ofentrants to its National Merit Scholarship Program.648–2282019 PSAT/NMSQTStudent GuideScores will be available online. (If you provide youremail address on the answer sheet, you’ll receive anemail letting you know when your scores are ready.)Paper score reports will be sent to schools a few weeksafter online scores are available. If you haven’t receivedyour score report by mid-January, see your counselor.Your school will be able to print a copy for you.

Create a College Board AccountBefore Test DayBefore Test DayCreate a CollegeBoard AccountOnce you create a free College Board account, you can: Access your PSAT/NMSQT scores when theybecome available. Sign up for free, personalized practice throughOfficial SAT Practice and Khan Academy .Just visit and click “Sign Up” to getstarted.If You Need TestingAccommodationsIf you have a disability that requires accommodationssuch as braille, extra breaks, or permission to testblood sugar, be sure to have your school requestCollege Board approval well in advance of the testdate you need the accommodations for. Requestsfor accommodations are handled by the Services forStudents with Disabilities (SSD) office.Applying for Accommodations Work with your school’s SSD coordinatoror counselor for accommodations. YourSSD coordinator can help determine whataccommodations are best for you and submit arequest online. If you move to a new school after you’ve beenapproved for accommodations, your new schoolneeds to confirm your continued eligibility. Printyour SSD eligibility letter from your student accountto give to your new school. If you are approved for extended time for specificsubject areas (math, for example), you’ll only getthose accommodations on the relevant sections ortests. Talk to your SSD coordinator before test day toconfirm what accommodations you are approved forand any additional information you need for testing. Bring your SSD eligibility letter with you on test dayin case there are any questions. If you are interested in participating in the NationalMerit Scholarship Program and do not receiveaccommodations for which you are approved ordo not receive approval in time for the test, pleasecontact NMSC immediately but no later thanNovember 15, 2019 (see inside front cover forcontact information).Student Search ServiceNearly 1,900 eligible colleges, universities,scholarships, and other educational programs useour Student Search Service to look for students whomatch a range of factors—such as the area where youlive or go to school, the interests you pursue, and whatyou plan to study in college. Here are some key factsabout the service: You can join for free and directly hear from adiverse group of eligible colleges, universities,scholarships, and other educational programs. When you take a College Board test, you can optin so eligible colleges, universities, scholarships,and other educational programs can send youinformation. You’ll be asked to provide informationabout yourself when filling out the answer sheet.You may also provide additional informationon College Board’s college planning website,BigFuture , at Only eligible colleges, universities, scholarships,and other educational programs can participate.They most often search on expected graduationdate, cumulative grade point average (GPA), andintended college major. We never sell or share your test scores, grades,disability status, or telephone numbers. We don’t allow any commercial advertising.How Student Search Service WorksOnce you opt in, you can expect to receive emailsand postal mail from eligible colleges, universities,scholarships, and other educational programs in yourcity, state, or country, or from around the world. Allof the colleges and universities that you’ll hear fromwelcome students just like you on their campuses.They may send you: Information on financial aid, scholarships, or otherways to make college or university more affordable. Details on campus life and student services. Overviews of majors, courses, and degree options.Being contacted by a college or university doesn’tmean you’ve been admitted. You must submit anapplication to be considered for admission. Theeligible colleges, universities, scholarships, and othereducational programs that participate want to findstudents who will succeed and thrive on their campusand in classes, programs, scholarships, and specialactivities. Student Search Service is simply a way foreligible colleges and universities to reach prospectiveStudent Guide2019 PSAT/NMSQT7

Before Test DayHow to Preparestudents to let them know about the opportunitiesthey offer. For more information about Student SearchService, visit our site at at any time you change your mind andwant to stop participating, please or contactus at SearchCustomerService@collegeboard.orgor 866-825-8051. Please note that any participatingeligible colleges, universities, scholarships, or othereducational programs that have already receivedyour name and other data may continue to send youinformation, but your information will not be includedgoing forward from the time you elect to opt out.Scholarship OpportunitiesYou already know that taking the PSAT/NMSQTcan enter you into the National Merit ScholarshipProgram. But do you know about the otheropportunities available to you by taking the test?If you take the PSAT/NMSQT as a junior and qualifyfor participation, the following programs may helpyou prepare for college. If you do not want your name,scores, and other information released to them, writeto the PSAT/NMSQT office by October 31, 2019 (seeinside front cover for address). The National Hispanic Recognition Program(NHRP) identifies outstanding Hispanic/Latinostudents and shares information about them withinterested colleges and universities. To be eligible,you must be at least one-quarter Hispanic/Latino(as defined by the NHRP), meet a minimumPSAT/NMSQT cutoff score for your state, and havea minimum grade point average.College BoardNational Hispanic Recognition Program250 Vesey StreetNew York, NY The National Scholarship Service (NSS) offersa free college advisory and referral service for11th-grade African American students. Scores willbe sent for juniors who indicate on their answersheets that they are African American or black.National Scholarship Service980 Martin Luther King Drive SWP.O. Box 11409Atlanta, GA 3031082019 PSAT/NMSQTStudent Guide Telluride Association is a program offeringsummer seminars in the humanities and socialsciences to highly gifted juniors.Telluride Association217 West AvenueIthaca, NY 14850607-273-5011College Board also partners with several otherprograms that provide millions of dollars inscholarships to qualified students. Help them find youby opting in to Student Search Service when you takethe PSAT/NMSQT.The following eligible programs are scholarshippartners as of spring 2019; please for updates. American Indian Graduate Center ( Asian & Pacific Islander American ScholarshipFund ( Boettcher Foundation ( Children of Fallen Patriots (CFP) ( Cobell Scholarship ( Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation( Daniels Fund ( Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation ( Snow Scholarship Fund ( Scholars ( Scholarship Fund ( Alger Association ( Kent Cooke Foundation ( Jackie Robinson Foundation( Brown Scholar Program ( ( Negro College Fund ( State Opportunity Scholarship( to PrepareThe PSAT/NMSQT measures the knowledge andskills you have developed in reading, writing andlanguage, and math. This test is not about memorizingwords and facts you will never use again. Instead, itfocuses on what you have already learned in schooland what you will need to succeed in college andcareer. It measures your reasoning and criticalthinking skills, which will be important to you throughhigh school, college, and beyond.

Instant Practice Test Scoring with Scan and ScoreThis guide includes the following to help you prepare: Advice, sample passages, and sample questionsfor the Reading Test and the Writing andLanguage Test Advice, sample questions, and calculatorinformation for the Math TestBefore Test DayInstant PracticeTest Scoring withScan and Score PSAT/NMSQT Practice Test #1, a full-lengthTake the PSAT/NMSQT on paper to simulate test day.Then take a picture of your answer sheet and get aninstant score. Information about the National Merit ScholarshipHere’s how Scan and Score works:practice testProgram (on the flip side of this guide)You can also go online for more help and information: Go to foradditional sample questions, practice test answerexplanations, and another full-length practice test(Practice Test #2). Practice tests in MP3 audio andassistive technology compatible formats are alsoavailable on this website. If you are approved foranother format, such as braille, a practice test maybe sent to your school, or you can call 212-713-8333to request a practice test in a specific format. Go to for more information aboutscoring and free, personalized practice from KhanAcademy.1. Use the PSAT/NMSQT Practice Test #1 includedin this guide or download and print PracticeTest #2 from (select Take thePractice Test under “Paper-and-Pencil Practice”).Be sure to follow the instructions, and use theofficial answer sheet to bubble in your answers.2. After you’ve finished the practice test, get instantfeedback and question-by-question results fromyour phone. Just open the free app Daily Practicefor the New SAT. (Go to formore information.)3. Keeping the app open, snap a picture of youranswer sheet with your phone’s camera.And there it is in seconds: your score. Scores aresaved so you can track your progress.Student Guide2019 PSAT/NMSQT9

On Test DayItems to Bring for TestingOn Test DayItems to Bring for TestingWhat to Bring Acceptable photo ID in case you need it ( for more information) Two No. 2 pencils with soft erasers An acceptable calculator for use on the Math Test –Calculator portion of the test (see Calculator Use) Earphones, only if you’re approved forassistive technology–compatible or MP3 audioaccommodations and the school doesn’t provideearphonesNice to Have A watch (without an audible alarm orcommunication/recording capabilities;smartwatches may be collected before testing) A bag or backpack (which must be stored awayduring testing) Snacks and drinks (which must be under yourdesk during testing) Extra batteries and backup calculatorWhat Not to BringUnless you have been approved to use a specificdevice or aid (such as a blood-sugar-monitoringapplication, highlighter, or colored pen or pencil) as anaccommodation, you should not bring any prohibiteddevices or aids into the testing room. Prohibiteddevices and aids include, but aren’t limited to: Cell phones, smartphones, or wearable technology(phones and wearable technology may be collectedbefore the test and returned before dismissal) Audio players/recorders Tablets, laptops, notebooks, Bluetooth, or anyother personal computing devices Separate timers of any type Cameras or any other photographic equipment Smartwatches and any other devices that canbe used to record, transmit, receive, or play backaudio, photographic, text, or video content Highlighters, colored pens/pencils, or mechanicalpencils Dictionaries or other books Compasses, rulers, protractors, or cutting devices Pamphlets or papers of any kind, including notesand scratch paper Earplugs102019 PSAT/NMSQTStudent GuideIMPORTANT: Epinephrine auto-injectors (e.g., EpiPens)are permitted in the testing room without the needfor accommodations. They must be placed in a clearbag and stored under your desk during testing. (Forother medical devices, you may need to request anaccommodation.)What to Do If.You know in advance that you cannot take the teston the date your school offers it: Tell your counseloras soon as possible that you have a conflict, such as areligious observance. You may be able to take the testat a nearby school that has selected a different testdate. If you test at another school, be sure to take yourschool code and an acceptable photo ID with you.You are homeschooled and want to take thePSAT/NMSQT: Make arrangements in advance withyour local school or another nearby school that isadministering the test. (For a list of schools in yourarea, go to h.) If this is not possible, contact thePSAT/NMSQT office (see inside cover).You will be studying in another country whenthe test is given: Contact the PSAT/NMSQT officeand provide the name of the city and country and,if known, the name and address of the schoolyou will be attending when the test is given. ThePSAT/NMSQT office will send you instructions.You missed the test but want to enter scholarshipand recognition programs: For informationabout another route of entry to the National MeritScholarship Program, see the box on page 7 of the flipside of this guide.Test Security andFairness PoliciesCollege Board’s Test Security and Fairness policiesare designed to give every student a fair andequitable opportunity to demonstrate their skillsand knowledge. They’re also designed to preventanyone from gaining an unfair advantage on CollegeBoard tests. When you take the PSAT/NMSQT, youacknowledge that you have read, understand, and willcomply with our Test Security and Fairness policiesas detailed here. You must present acceptable photo ID foradmission if any school staff member asks you to.

Phones and Electronic Devices Policy Allowing someone to impersonate you to take aCollege Board test, or engaging in impersonationto take a test for someone else, is strictlyprohibited. Creating a disturbance or failing to followinstructions given by testing staff is prohibited. Sharing test questions or answers is prohibited atany time unless test content is released as part of aCollege Board service. Using phones and certain other electronic devicesis prohibited in PSAT/NMSQT test sites. Staffat your test site may collect devices such as cellphones and smartwatches before testing begins.If you are observed with such a device aftercollection occurs, you will be dismissed fromtesting and your scores will be canceled. You are prohibited from accessing secured testmaterials at any time before or after the test. If you exit the building before testing ends, yourOn Test Dayone’s parents, siblings, children, grandparents,and spouse. This applies even if they do notreside in the same household.) A proctor may notadminister the test to a member of their family orhousehold. You may not discuss the contents of the testwith anyone, or share them through any means,including but not limited to emails, text messages,and the internet, until after score reports have beendistributed.Violation of policies related to test security can resultin denial of entry to or immediate dismissal from thetest site, cancellation of your scores, or a limited orpermanent ban from any College Board assessment,including the SAT, SAT Subject Tests , and theAdvanced Placement exams.Please read the PSAT/NMSQT Terms and Conditionslater in this guide for important information aboutyour rights and responsibilities as a test taker.scores may be canceled. While you’re taking the test, do not allow anyoneto see the test questions or your answers. The timing of each test section is strictlyscheduled. You cannot skip ahead or go back toa previous test or test section in the test book oranswer sheet while taking the PSAT/NMSQT. You may not consult notes, other people, electronicdevices, or any other resources during the test orduring breaks. Calculators may not be shared, and may only be onyour desk during the parts of the PSAT/NMSQTthey’re approved for. You may take the PSAT/NMSQT only once eachschool year. If you begin a test, you are consideredto have taken it. All students in your school must take the test atthe same time. (Exceptions may be approved forstudents with disabilities.) If you become ill or must leave during the test, orif for any other reason you do not want your testscored, you may ask the proctor or test coordinatorto withdraw your answer sheet from scoringbefore you leave the testing room. After you leavethe testing room, if you decide to withdraw youranswer sheet from scoring you must report yourdecision immediately to the test coordinator or thePSAT/NMSQT office. (See the inside front coverfor contact information.) Members of your household or immediate familymay not serve as PSAT/NMSQT coordinators orany other role that has access to test books beforetest day, even at a different school, during the yearthat you take the test. (Immediate family includesPhones and ElectronicDevices PolicyDevices that can be used to document or communicatetest content or answers are not allowed at the testsite. You may not bring electronics of any kind otherthan approved calculators with you on test day (anexception may apply for medically required devices).If, however, you forget to leave a device at home, you’llbe instructed to turn off all electronic devices. Thestaff in your testing room may collect cell phones andwearable technology before the test begins. Be sureto turn off your phone and/or watch alarm, if you haveone or both.If your device makes noise (even if collected by theproctor), you will get a warning and be told to turnit off. However, if you are seen with it at any time,including during breaks, you will be dismissedimmediately, your scores will be canceled, and thedevice may be kept and its contents inspected. CollegeBoard is not responsible for loss of or damage topersonal items, including electronic devices, whileyou’re at the test site.College Board regularly bolsters its security effortsin order to protect the integrity of the test and ensurea fair PSAT/NMSQT administration. From time totime, College Board, Educational Testing Service(ETS), and its testing staff may employ enhancedsecurity measures, such as the use of metal detectingwands to detect mobile phones and other electronicdevices. Test takers should be prepared to undergothese security measures to ensure a fair testingenvironment.Student Guide2019 PSAT/NMSQT11

On Test DayTaking the TestDepending on your school’s policy, the testadministration staff may be authorized to collect andhold phones and other prohibited electronic devicesduring the test administration, including breakperiods, or to deny admission to anyone in possessionof a prohibited electronic device.Taking the TestTesting Guidelines Plan ahead and bring equipment that’s in goodworking order. Testing staff may not have extrabatteries or calculators. When marking answers: Use a No. 2 pencil with a soft eraser on allparts of the answer sheet. Do not use a pen ormechanical pencil. Make sure you fill in the entire bubble darklyand completely. Erase any changes you make as completely aspossible. On the PSAT/NMSQT, there’s no penalty forguessing; you simply earn points for the questionsyou answer correctly. Try to give your best answerto every question—there’s no advantage to leavingthem blank. Use a watch to time yourself—no separate timersor alarms are allowed, as they distract other testtakers. Choose

5 PSAT/NMSQT Test Dates and Fee 5 What the PSAT/NMSQT Measures 5 How the PSAT/NMSQT Is Organized 6 How the PSAT/NMSQT Is Scored 6 What Scores You Will Receive 7 Before Test Day 7 Create a College Board Account 7 If You Need Testing Accommodations 7 Student Search Service 8 How to Prepare 9 Instant