PSAT / NMSQT®
The Preliminary SAT® administered in a student's junior year is also known as the NMSQT® (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). Although less well known to the public, this secondary name is fitting, as scores from the PSAT/NMSQT® are used to determine whether a student is eligible for National Merit® recognition.
Approximately 50,000 students receive some type of National Merit® recognition each year. Of these 50,000, roughly two-thirds will receive Letters of Commendation. The remaining one-third (approximately 16,000 students who score in the upper 99th percentile within their respective states) are recognized as National Merit® Semifinalists and continue on in the competition for company- and college-sponsored scholarships.
Texas has historically been in the top ten most competitive states for National Merit® recognition, as measured by state-specific cut-off scores. For more information on the National Merit® competition, including scholarship eligibility requirements, please visit the National Merit Scholarship Corporation website. For Texas-specific statistics on National Merit® Semifinalists, please scroll to the bottom of this page.
(Scored out of 1520)
1. READING (60 MIN.)
Words in Context (contextual meaning, mood, and tone of word choice or usage)
Command of Evidence (identifying evidentiary support)
Passage Topics: Literature, History and Social Studies, Founding Document or Great Global Conversation, Science
2. WRITING & LANGUAGE (35 MIN.)
Words in Context (concision vs. precision, syntax, style, tone)
Command of Evidence (analyzing relevance and supporting detail)
Expression of Ideas (sentence, paragraph, and essay structures)
Standard English Conventions (syntax, usage, and punctuation)
3. MATH: NON-CALCULATOR (25 MIN.)
Heart of Algebra (linear equations, systems of linear equations, and inequalities)
Problem Solving and Data Analysis (ratios, proportions, percentages, units, quantitative data, and probabilities)
Passport to Advanced Math (equivalent algebraic expressions, quadratic equations, exponential functions, other nonlinear equations and functions)
Additional Topics in Math (trigonometry, geometry, and complex numbers)
4. MATH: CALCULATOR (45 MIN.)
Same topics as Non-Calculator Math (see above)
TOTAL TIME - 2 hours 45 minutes
2017 National Merit®
- At A Glance -