The PSAT vs. The SAT


Public Broadcasting Services (PBS)

A sample bubbled SAT answer sheet.

Charlize Quinto, Staff Writer

The PSAT is coming up in October! While it is just another test, it is a very important test you should take. It is as important as the SAT. Both are very similar, however, there are some key differences between the two. It’s important to know what you’re taking and how you can conquer it!


The PSAT and the SAT cover the same subjects. Both include the usual: algebra, reading and writing. It is the exact same subjects. 


The style of the questions and the overall goal of the test is the same. The two main sections are: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math (EBRW). The EBRW tests are two tests, which is the Reading Test and the Language Test. On the Reading Test, you’ll get questions about passages you read. On the Language Test, it includes questions where you have to fix errors in a text. In the Math section, it is divided into two subsections where you can use a calculator and where you cannot. 


The major difference between the two is that the PSAT is a practice test. It can also determine if one is eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program. The PSAT does not affect your college applications, the SAT will. For National Merit, you can enter this program if you score with the top 1% of the test takers. 


The PSAT is scored on a scale of 320-1520 while the SAT is scored on a scale of 400-1600. What you score on the PSAT can predict your future SAT score. But, a perfect score on the practice test does not mean one can get a perfect score on the SAT. 


Lastly, the difficulty between the two is a huge difference. The SAT is a little bit harder than the PSAT because it is more extensive. The SAT has 155 questions, while the PSAT has 139 questions.