PSAT Changes

Tyrone Carter

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, 1,135 underclassmen at Marjory Stoneman Douglas took the PSAT. This is the first batch of underclassmen to take the new PSAT. There have been various changes made to the PSAT.

Among the changes are things such as time, number of sections and scoring. The amount of time given to students PSAT before was two hours and ten minutes but now, new test takers are given an extra thirty-five minutes. On the old PSAT there were three sections: Reading, Writing, and Math. In the newer PSAT, there are only two sections: Math, and then Reading and Writing are combined into one section. The PSAT scoring scale used to range from 60-240 and now range from 8-38. This scale allows educators to view students’ progress overtime.

Other things that have changed are that there is no penalty for wrong answers. There is also an elaboration on the meaning of words in certain contexts.

“I like that points don’t count against you for wrong answers,” sophomore Laura said.

It seems that for students some of these changes are in their favor, and others they aren’t so fond of.

“Even though, we were given more time, I wish that there we had about five extra minutes in each section,” sophomore Emma said.

Here’s a chart comparing the new and old PSAT, provided by college

Comparison of the Major Features: Pre-2015 and New PSAT/NMSQT
Category Pre-2015 PSAT/NMSQT New PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10
Total Testing Time 2 hours and 10 minutes 2 hours and 45 minutes
  1. Critical Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Mathematics
  1. Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
    • Reading Test
    • Writing and Language Test
  2. Math
Important Features
  • Emphasis on general reasoning skills
  • Emphasis on vocabulary, often in limited contexts
  • Complex scoring (a point for a correct answer and a deduction for an incorrect answer; blank responses have no impact on scores)
  • Focus on the knowledge, skills, and understandings that research has identified as most important for college and career readiness and success
  • Greater emphasis on the meaning of words in extended contexts and on how word choice shapes meaning, tone, and impact
  • Rights-only scoring (no penalty for guessing)
Score Reporting
  • Scale ranging from 60 to 240
  • Scale ranging from 20 to 80 for Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing
Scores will be reported on a shared common score scale with the SAT: The scale ranges for the PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 scores are 320–1520 for the total score, 160–760 for each of two section scores, and 8–38 for test scores.
Subscore Reporting None Subscores for every test, providing added insight for students, parents, educators, and counselors