About the Tests

PSAT

The PSAT/NMSQT is essentially a shorter version of the SAT. The PSAT is comprised of two Math sections (a calculator and no-calculator section), and two Evidence-Based Reading and Writing sections. It is given only once a year, in October.

Though some high schools require it, the PSAT is typically optional. However, even though it’s optional, taking the PSAT is a great idea. It gives all students the opportunity to practice in a real testing situation and provides an accurate sense of a starting score. You’ll also receive detailed feedback on your student’s strengths and weaknesses. And, there’s no pressure: if you do poorly, it doesn’t matter—colleges never see these scores.

The PSAT can count for one thing, though: the National Merit Scholarship program. Juniors scoring around the 97th percentile of the PSAT scores in their state will get a National Merit Letter of Commendation. Those students scoring in the 99th percentile of PSAT scores in their state will qualify as National Merit Semifinalists. Just a quick note: only juniors can qualify for a National Merit commendation. (Learn how to understand your student’s PSAT scores here!)

Section Time Allotted (min.) Number of Questions
Reading 60 47
Writing and Language 35 44
Math 70 48
Total 165 139

 

THE REDESIGNED SAT

The redesigned SAT is here. According to the College Board, this change was made so that the test would better reflect high school curriculum and be an indicator of college readiness.

We have incorporated the new test material into a revised SAT Book of Knowledge curriculum and have created supplementary materials, drills and seminars with the information released by The College Board. The College Board has officially released seven full-length sample SATs in the redesigned format.

Section Details
Evidence-Based Reading & Writing Reading · 65 minutes long
· 52 multiple choice reading comprehension questions
Writing & Language · 35 minutes long
· 44 grammar and usage questions
Math No Calculator · 25 minutes long
· 15 multiple choice and 5 grid-in math questions
Calculator Permitted · 55 minutes long
· 30 multiple choice and 8 grid-in math questions
Essay · 50 minutes long
· Essay is optional and is scored independently out of 8
Scoring · EBRW and Math sections each scored out of 800
· Scores combined to create composite score out of 1600

 

Download A-List’s one-pager on the redesigned test here.

SAT Subject Tests

Subject Tests measure your knowledge and skills in particular subject areas, as well as your ability to apply that knowledge. Subject Tests fall into five general subject areas: English, History, Math, Science, and Languages.

More and more students and colleges are focusing their attention on SAT Subject Tests. Many colleges take these tests seriously and use them to inform their admissions decisions. In fact, most selective colleges require 1-3 SAT Subject Tests as part of their application.

Many colleges use the Subject Tests for admission, for course placement, and to advise students about course selection. These tests give you and colleges a very reliable measure of how prepared you are for college-level work in particular subjects. Used in combination with other background information (your high school record, SAT or ACT scores, teacher recommendations, etc.), they provide a dependable measure of your academic achievement and are a good predictor of future college performance in specific subject areas.

Test Date: August October November December May June
Humanities
Literature x x x x x x
U.S. History x x x x x x
World History x x x
Math & Sciences
Mathematics Level 1 x x x x x x
Mathematics Level 2 x x x x x x
Biology E/M x x x x x x
Chemistry x x x x x x
Physics x x x x x x
Languages: Reading
French x x x x x
Spanish x x x x x
Latin x x
German x
Modern Hebrew x
Italian x
Languages: Listening
French with Listening x
Spanish with Listening x
German with Listening x
Chinese with Listening x
Japanese with Listening x
Korean with Listening x

 

Information available at www.collegeboard.com.