Why buy a bunch of PSAT practice tests when you can find them online for free? To make your search as easy as possible, I've compiled all the best PSAT practice tests and sample questions available online.
Read on for 10 downloadable official PSAT practice test PDFs, along with 10 bonus SAT practice tests. Since the College Board has only released two official practice tests for the current version of the PSAT, I'll also explain how you can modify older practice tests to effectively prepare for the test.
Let's get right to it with the first official PSAT practice test PDF for you to download.
Practice Tests for the PSAT
Though the PSAT changed in the fall of 2015, there still aren't a whole lot of updated PSAT practice materials available. The College Board currently offers two sample PSAT NMSQT practice tests with answer keys. These are the best resources out there so far for practice questions for the PSAT:
Test-prep company Ivy Global has also made their version of a PSAT practice test PDF available on their website. Keep in mind that these are not official College Board questions. Although they resemble PSAT questions and are useful practice, they're not an exact representation of what you'll encounter on test day.
As time goes on, more and more practice materials specific to the current version of the PSAT will be released. For now, you can use a combination of the above resources, older PSAT practice tests, and official SAT practice questions to prep effectively.
Before we delve into these other test-prep materials, though, how can you use these two newer PSAT practice tests to study for the exam?
How to Use Updated PSAT Practice Tests for PSAT Prep
As I mentioned, the College Board's official practice tests are the best representation of what you'll see when you take the PSAT. Before taking them, you should review the content and format of the PSAT so you have a sense of what skills to focus on and develop.
When you actually take the practice tests, be sure to simulate testing conditions by timing yourself and making sure you're familiar with the test format and instructions. Like with the SAT, there's no score penalty for wrong answers, so make your best guess on every question.
Since there are only two official PSAT practice tests currently available, I would recommend saving them until you have done some initial studying. Then you can see how effective your studying has been, analyze your results to get a clear sense of your strengths and weaknesses, and readjust your focus as needed.
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Practice Tests for the Old (Pre-2015) PSAT
Below, we've compiled eight PSAT practice test PDFs with answer keys that you can download and print out. These consist of four official College Board tests and four unofficial ones.
They are scored out of 240 (with the Critical Reading, Math, and Writing sections each worth 80 points) and deduct a 1/4 point for each wrong answer. Keep this different system in mind while scoring these old practice tests.
As mentioned above, the PSAT no longer takes a 1/4 point deduction for wrong answers; now, it uses rights-only scoring, meaning you get one point for each correct answer and no points for wrong or skipped answers.
The current PSAT scores Math on a scale from 160 to 760, and Reading and Writing together on the same scale (160 to 760). Your composite PSAT score, therefore, will be between 320 and 1520.
You'll also get individual test scores for Math, Reading, and Writing and Language between 8 and 38 (these are then converted into the scaled scores above from 160 to 760).
Besides using a different scoring system on the old PSAT practice tests, what else can you do to make your practice testing relevant for the current PSAT?
How to Use Old PSAT Practice Tests for PSAT Prep
To adapt your studying, you must familiarize yourself with the changes in question types and skills on the current PSAT. For instance, changes to the PSAT in 2015 eliminated sentence completion questions in favor of passage-based vocabulary questions, which ask you to define more common words that have multiple meanings.
The PSAT also wants you to be able to find evidence for your answers in a passage, graph, or chart. These questions will ask you to interpret details, main points, or data in the context of a passage or other information provided. As a result, you'll need to concentrate on passage-based Reading questions and Math questions that require you to interpret data from charts and graphs.
Generally speaking, the Reading and Math questions on old PSAT practice tests are still very useful for prepping for the current PSAT.
That being said, note that the old PSAT was two hours and 10 minutes long, whereas the current PSAT is a little longer at two hours and 45 minutes. To practice pacing yourself over this longer amount of time, you might add an extra section or two to your practice test.
All these changes in content, skills, and scoring match the ones made to the SAT in 2016. Below, we've compiled 10 practice tests for the SAT you can use to prep! Plus, you'll find free SAT practice questions online.
But wait, there's more!
Practice Tests and Sample Questions for the SAT
Like the PSAT, there still aren't a ton of practice materials out for the current version of the SAT, which was first administered in the spring of 2016. However, we've gathered 10 official SAT practice tests (with answer keys) that you can download and take:
In addition to these practice tests, you can find some free sample questions on the College Board website. These sample questions are for both the PSAT and SAT. This speaks to how similar the two tests have become. Whatever studying you do for the PSAT will help you a great deal once you take the SAT.
Finally, you can create an account with Khan Academy and find high-quality practice questions for the SAT. This website works in conjunction with the College Board to produce official SAT practice questions.
Given that the PSAT and SAT are so similar, are there any modifications you need to make when using SAT practice questions to prep for the PSAT?
How to Use SAT Practice Tests and Questions for PSAT Prep
The questions on the SAT and PSAT are almost identical. SAT Math may get a bit more advanced into algebra and functions, but otherwise the questions are very similar. The one exception is that the PSAT does NOT have an optional Essay section.
The SAT is somewhat longer at three hours (plus the additional 50-minute optional essay). Also, although the two tests resemble each other in both content and scoring, the SAT is slightly more difficult than the PSAT is. As I discussed above, the PSAT is scored on a scale of 320-1520, with a range of 160-760 for Math and 160-760 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, or EBRW.
The SAT, on the other hand, is scored on a scale of 400-1600. The score range for Math is 200-800 and the score range for EBRW is also 200-800. Your PSAT scores are meant to predict your SAT scores; however, the scoring scale doesn't go up as high to account for the fact that the PSAT is a slightly easier test. While a high score on the PSAT predicts a high SAT score, it doesn't necessarily coincide with a perfect 1600.
As with the PSAT practice tests, I recommend timing yourself and simulating real test conditions. After, take some time to understand any mistakes you made and determine your strengths and weaknesses. Since the PSAT and SAT are so similar, you may use one test as a diagnostic pre-test and one as a post-test to figure out where you're starting out and to gauge your progress after significant studying.
Given all these practice materials, new and old, you should have plenty of resources to help you achieve a strong score on the PSAT. Let's quickly review the steps you should take to prep for the PSAT.
Down to the last piece of the puzzle ...
Best Ways to Prep for the PSAT
The best resource for PSAT practice questions are the two official PSAT practice tests released by the College Board and listed at the beginning of this guide. Official test questions are the gold standard when it comes to sample questions, as they are the best representation of what will be on the actual exam.
Since the PSAT is so similar to the SAT, the practice tests and free online questions for the SAT can be very useful prep tools. These questions will help you get ready for both the PSAT and SAT.
Finally, you can still use older PSAT practice tests effectively, as long as you familiarize yourself with the changes to the exam and focus your energies on the relevant content and skills. This understanding will also help you avoid wasting time on material and information that's no longer relevant, such as Sentence Completion questions.
As long as you take the time to understand the exam and adapt your test prep accordingly, you can still use the abundance of practice material out there to prep for the PSAT. And as an added bonus, all this prep will help you out a great deal in the future when you take the SAT!
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Rebecca graduated with her Master's in Adolescent Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has years of teaching and college counseling experience and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University and scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT.