What are your chances of acceptance?
Duke University
UCLA
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
1.0
4.0
SAT: 720 math
200
800
| 800 verbal
200
800

#### Extracurriculars

Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

# PSAT vs SAT: How do they differ?

I know that the PSAT and SAT are both standardized tests and the former is like a 'pre' version of the latter, right? But could anyone help explain to me the significant differences between them besides that, like in terms of structure, scoring and overall purpose? Thanks!

25 days ago

Indeed, the PSAT and SAT are both standardized tests developed by College Board, and while they do contain similarities, the two tests do have their distinct differences in structure, scoring, and overall purpose.

First off, let's talk about structure. The SAT became fully digital in spring 2024 and has a specific structure: the reading and writing sections are divided into two 32-minute modules to complete 54 questions, giving you about 71 seconds per question. The math sections are also divided into two 35-minute modules to complete 44 questions, giving you 96 seconds per question, or a bit over a minute and a half. Hence, the total duration of the digital SAT is 134 minutes, completing a total of 98 questions. As of that same year, the SAT no longer has a no-calculator section, and students can use their calculator on both math modules.

Similarly, the PSAT became digital in 2024, possessing the same structure as the digital SAT. This is a change from the past where the PSAT was significantly shorter. The PSAT also allows the use of a calculator for all math questions.

For scoring, the SAT's scores range from 400 to 1600, while the PSAT/NMSQT has a total score range from 320 to 1520. This doesn't mean that scoring an 1150 on the PSAT means you'd get an 1150 on the SAT. In fact, an 1150 on the PSAT is more equivalent to around 1180 on the SAT.

As for the purpose, the SAT is primarily used as a tool by colleges for admissions decisions. Meanwhile, the PSAT serves not only as a practice test for the SAT but also as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). This means that high scores on the PSAT may qualify you for scholarships and academic recognitions.

For further practice, students can use the Bluebook™ app by College Board to preview the digital PSAT/NMSQT or take a full-length practice test.

25 days ago