The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a standardized test administered by schools that gives students firsthand practice for the SAT and tests critical reading, math and writing skills. The PSAT/NMSQT is designed to uncover opportunities for growth and provide targeted feedback to help students improve their skills. Scores are not sent to colleges.

Each year, more than 3.5 million high school students take the PSAT/NMSQT to:

  • Prepare for the SAT. Students who take the PSAT/NMSQT in 11th grade score, on average, 166 points higher on the SAT than students who do not (U.S. schools only). Students who take the PSAT/NMSQT in 10th and 11th grades score, on average,189 points higher on the SAT than students who do not (U.S. schools only).
  • Enter competitions for scholarships
  • Help colleges find you
  • Begin college and career planning with My College QuickStart
  • Get score feedback on your skills and understand how to improve

This test is typically administered by secondary schools. Online registration for the PSAT/NMSQT is not available. If you’re not sure whether your school administers the PSAT/NMSQT, speak with your university counselor or another official at your school to find out. If your school has not administered the PSAT/NMSQT in the past, ask them to email us at Learn more about the PSAT/NMSQT.


The Preliminary SAT Scoring Service (PSSS) offers the same benefits of the PSAT/NMSQT. It measures critical reading, mathematics and writing skills using the predisclosed 2014 PSAT/NMSQT Saturday test form. The only difference between the PSSS and the PSAT/NMSQT is that PSSS scores will not be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship.

It is recommended that students in the 11th grade who are U.S. citizens take the PSAT/NMSQT, and students who took the 2014 Saturday PSAT/NMSQT should not take the PSSS.

If your school was unable to administer the PSAT/NMSQT during the 2014 administration dates, speak with your university counselor or another school official to find out if it’s possible to take the PSSS. Have them email for more information. Learn more about the PSSS test.