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Why should you take a PSAT?

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

PSAT stands for Preliminary SAT. As the name suggests, the PSAT exam is a warm up to the SAT exam. The PSAT is usually taken a couple of years before writing the actual SAT exam. There are 3 types of PSAT exams- PSAT-8, PSAT-9, and PSAT-10 which are meant to be taken by the 8th, 9th, and 10th graders respectively. The PSAT exam is recommended to be taken as early as Grade 9. The main purpose behind taking the PSAT exam is to get a rough idea of how a student may prepare for the highly competitive SAT exam.

PSAT structure

The PSAT has a total weightage of 1520 marks and is usually divided in 3 sections:

i. READING SECTION: The Reading Section contains 47 questions and is supposed to be done in 60 minutes. This section is a test of one’s vocabulary and reading in context.

ii. WRITING SECTION: This is a short section and demands a student to answer 44 questions in just 35 minutes. The Writing Section is majorly to check one’s grammar and application of vocabulary.

iii. MATHEMATICS: The Calculator Section – This section is 45 minutes long and contains 31 questions. It contains questions related to core-algebra, problem solving, data analysis, etc.

iv. MATHEMATICS: The Non-Calculator Section – In this section of math, the student is supposed to answer 17 questions in 35 minutes. It majorly consists of topics such as geometry, trigonometry, etc.

Why to take PSAT?

Here, the reading section along with the writing section combined accounts for a total of 760 marks. The two math sections combined account for the same weightage.

The question that usually arises is why should one take a PSAT Exam if it has very less to no help to offer during admissions? Here’s why:-

1. It is a mirror to the actual SAT exam:

As with SAT exams, PSAT exams are administered similarly. A student shows up in the same spot to write an exam just like SAT exams, but with PSAT, the student gets an idea of how well prepared he/she is for writing SAT on that same day.

2. The percentile report card of PSAT:

A student who appears for the PSAT exam gets his/her result in the form of percentile. This makes easier for the result in the form of percentile. This makes easier for the aspirant to know his standing among others who appeared for the exam.

3. Gets a student to be mentally prepared for SAT:

A student who appears for the PSAT will go through pretty much what an SAT aspirant goes through. The PSAT helps one brace up for the highly competitive exam by giving one a flavor of how an SAT may look like.

4. Lessens the burden for SAT exam:

It is quite likely that a student who is well prepared for the PSAT or who studied for half a year prior to the exam can score an impressive 1400 on the SAT even if he/she only spends 6-8 hours a week preparing for the SAT.

5. A good PSAT score may make up for an increased confidence:

As a final point, a good PSAT exam percentile helps boost one's confidence and facilitates smooth preparation for the actual SAT exam.

Our PSAT exam blog should have helped you grasp what it is and why you should take it.

Make sure to read more like it at

Good luck!

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