PSAT Length

Time Limits on Each PSAT Section and How to Handle Them

PSAT is the acronym of Preliminary SAT. It is administered by the College Board. The primary reason behind PSAT administration is to facilitate students to enter the scholarship competition organized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

PSAT Length

PSAT is analogous to SAT. Three sections are present throughout the PSAT length. They are the Math section, the Critical Reading section and the Writing Skills section. PSAT length comprising of three sections extends to a total time period of two-hours and ten-minutes. The test on the whole tests your aptitude levels and English language proficiency. Furthermore, additional to the PSAT length, during the testing, there would be thirty-five minutes for administrative formalities. PSAT test consists of all multiple-choice questions except for 10 questions in the Math section. Throughout the PSAT length, following of your skills will be tested.

  • Your math reasoning, language reading and writing skills, which are very useful for future academics, will be measured.
  • The wide range of knowledge and skills that you may have developed through many years of your education will be put to test throughout the PSAT length.
  • Your logical thinking will be tested throughout the PSAT length.

Sectional Limits

PSAT length is further divided into separately timed sections. Each section is further divided into sub-sections. Let us now see in detail about what each section of the PSAT length is timed for and the types of questions they contain.

Critical Reading Section

The Critical Reading section of PSAT is divided into two twenty-five minute sub-sections. Collectively, both the sections of the PSAT consist of a total of 48 questions. Of the 48 questions present in this section, there are 13 sentence completion questions and 35 critical reading questions.

Math Section

The Math section of the PSAT is divided into two twenty-five minute sub-sections. All in all, the math section consists of 38 questions in total. Out of the 38 questions, there would be 28 multiple-choice questions. There are 10 other questions that are student-produced responses. You must solve the given question and enter the answer in the grids that are provided. Hence, these questions are also called as grid-ins. The questions asked in the Math section of the PSAT are from four major areas of junior level mathematics. They are numbers and operations, algebra and functions, geometry and measurement and probability, data analysis and statistics.

Writing Skills Section

The Writing Skills section is a single test section which extends for a total time period of 30 minutes. This section, on the whole consists of 39 questions. Out of the 39 questions, there will appear 14 error identification sentences type questions, 20 improving sentences type of questions and 5 improving paragraph type of questions.


The PSAT test paper is evaluated on a score scale of 60-240 points. Each section of the PSAT is separately evaluated. Each section of the PSAT is evaluated on a score scale of 20-80 score points. Each correct answer marked by you contributes one score point to your score credit. Each wrong answer that you mark will deduct one-fourth of a score-point from your score credit. If you omit any questions, any marks will not be deducted. In the student-produced responses, no points will be deducted if you attempt them wrong.

So, you must keep in view every test aspect of the PSAT so that you can plan your whole test timing. If you are not sure of a particular question, it is advised that you leave the question without answering it. Because answering a question that you are not sure of will keep you at risk which is worth one-fourth of each score point that you may have gained. Hence, keep yourself confident and concentrated while you take the test to score high.

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