College Center » PSAT/NMSQT


Each year, LAUSD high schools administer the PSAT/NMSQT. The number of students taking the PSAT has been identified as one of the strongest indicators of a college-going culture at a school.  For 2013-14, as in the previous four years, the District will pay for all 10th-grade students (Class of 2014) to take the PSAT. Eleventh graders also should be encouraged to take the PSAT/NMSQT to be eligible for scholarships and grants and to prepare for college admissions testing. Fee waivers are available from the College Board for eleventh graders who qualify.
LAUSD high schools that promote and administer the PSAT/NMSQT to 9th, 10th, and 11th-grade students as the result of counselors, teachers, administrators, and parents working together demonstrate a strong belief in developing a college-going culture for all students.

What's on the Test?

The PSAT/NMSQT includes five sections:
  • Two 25-minute critical reading sections 
  • Two 25-minute math sections 
  • One 30-minute writing skills section.
The whole test requires two hours and 10 minutes

Critical Reading

  • Two 25-minute critical reading sections = 48 questions 
  • 13 Sentence completions 
  • 35 Critical reading questions


  • Two 25-minute math sections = 38 questions 
  • 28 multiple-choice math questions 
  • 10 Student-produced responses or grid-ins
Students are advised to bring a calculator with which they are comfortable. Students should have basic knowledge of 4 math categories:
  • Numbers and Operation 
  • Algebra and Functions (but not 3rd year level math that may appear on the new SAT) 
  • Geometry and Measurement 
  • Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability

Writing Skills

  • One 30-minute writing section = 39 questions 
  • 14 Identifying sentence errors 
  • 20 Improving sentences 
  • 5 Improving paragraph questions
These multiple-choice questions on writing skills measure a student's ability to express ideas effectively in standard written English, recognize faults in usage and structure, and use language with sensitivity to meaning.

Scholarships & Recognition

By taking the PSAT/NMSQT, you may qualify to enter the competitions for prestigious scholarships and participate in recognition programs.
As a cosponsor of the PSAT/NMSQT, (NMSC) receives all students' scores. If you do not want your scores released to other recognition programs, contact us:
The National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP)
National Scholarship Service
The Telluride Association
National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC)
Students in the 11th grade of high school enter NMSC competitions by taking the PSAT/NMSQT, which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.5 million entrants each year, and by meeting published program entry and/or participation requirements. NMSC uses the Selection Index score (the sum of the critical reading, mathematics, and writing skills scores) on the PSAT/NMSQT as an initial screen of program entrants and to designate groups of students to be honored in the competitions it conducts.
For more information about NMSC, visit

National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP)

Our National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) was initiated in 1983 to identify outstanding Hispanic/Latino high school students and to share information about you with interested colleges and universities. In order to be eligible, you must be at least one-quarter Hispanic/Latino as defined by the NHRP, meet the minimum PSAT/NMSQT cutoff score for your state, and achieve a minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement.
Each year, the NHRP identifies nearly 5,000 of the highest-scoring students (from a nationwide total of more than 200,000 juniors) in the United States and U.S. Territories who take the PSAT/NMSQT and designate themselves as Hispanic/Latino. Approximately 150 of the top scoring PAA™ students from Puerto Rico are also listed. Learn more about qualifying for the NHRP and how it can help you get into college.

National Scholarship Service (NSSFNS)

The NSSFNS offers a free college advisory and referral service for students who plan to attend two-year or four-year colleges. Scores are sent for students in eleventh grade who indicate that they are African American. (Note: This program is not conducted by NMSC.)
For more information, write to:

National Scholarship Service

980 Martin Luther King Drive,
SW, PO Box 11409
Atlanta, GA

The Telluride Association

The Telluride Association offers scholarships to gifted juniors for summer seminars in the humanities and social sciences. (This program is not conducted by NMSC.)
For more information, visit or write to:

Telluride Association

217 West Avenue
Ithaca, NY 14850
For more information about the PSAT/NMSQT goto: