PSAT Writing Practice Test
The Preliminary SAT, like the actual SAT and the ACT, measures your core academic skills in math, reading, and writing. The score you get on this test won’t be considered by the colleges you apply to but it will help you figure out which areas need the most attention as you study for the actual SAT.
Where Do I Register or the PSAT?
The test will be administered by your school so you can register for it with your school counselor. If you are home-schooled, you can go to any school in your area and register to take the exam there.
What Will Test Day Be Like?
On the day of the test, you will show up at your school (or the school where you are taking the exam), sign in, and then go to an exam room. The full test will last two hours and 45 minutes with a five minute break and a one minute break. You will have 35 minutes to answer the 44 writing questions in the evidence-based reading and writing section.
In order to maintain your concentration and cognitive abilities, you need to make sure you are physically comfortable. To do that, make sure you eat a nourishing breakfast before the test and bring a bottle of water and small snack to eat during your break. You should also dress in layers so that you can add or remove layers depending on the temperature in the room.
Finally, take advantage of the breaks you get. Even if you don’t feel the need to eat a snack or go to the bathroom, get up and walk around. This will improve circulation, allowing more blood to flow to your brain, which helps you maintain focus and stay relaxed during the test.
You should also make sure to show up at least 30 minutes early so that you can sign in and get where you need to go without feeling rushed. Make sure you bring the following items with you:
- A photo ID
- A printout of your test registration slip
- At least 5 sharpened #2 pencils with erasers (you cannot use mechanical pencils).
- A pencil sharpener
- An extra eraser
- Extra batteries for your calculator
- Bottled water and small snacks for your break
- Any medications or medical devices you might require, such as an inhaler, insulin, or an epinephrine injector.
What Kinds of Questions Are on the Writing Section?
The writing section includes 44 questions that will be divided into four groups. Each group of questions will relate to a different passage, similar to how the reading section is structured except that the questions will be about grammar, sentence structure, word choice, and other conventions of the English language.
The four passages will each come from a different genre, including:
- One passage on careers (a hot topic from a major field of work)
- One passage on a topic in humanities, arts, and letters
- One passage on a topic in Social Studies and History
- One passage on a topic in Science
Of these four passages, one or two will be arguments, one or two will be informative or explanatory, and at least one will be a nonfiction narrative. You’ll be required to answer questions about grammar, rhetoric, word choice, and so on based on these passages.
Altogether, you’ll have approximately 24 questions about text development, organization, and effective language use. The remaining 20 questions will be about sentence structure, conventions of usage, and conventions of punctuation.
When Will I Find Out My PSAT Scores?
Your scores will be released sometime between December and February. Check with your counselor for the exact date. That may seem like a long time to wait, but just try to put it out of your mind and focus on your classes.
When you receive your scores, you’ll get a report that not only tells you your total, overall score but also your sub-scores so that you can see how you did on each section.
If you are taking the PSAT simply as a way to prepare for the SAT, then a good score (meaning above average) is somewhere between 950 and 1060. If you are taking the PSAT as a means of competing for scholarships, then you should aim for a score above 1070, the further above 1070 you get, the more competitive your application will be.
A reading and writing score of 500 or higher is a good result. That means it is one of your stronger sections, it does not mean you don’t need to study and further develop those skill for the actual SAT. It just means you are already starting ahead of the pack and with additional preparation, you can expect to earn highly competitive SAT scores.
What’s the Best Way to Study for the Writing Section?
Even though these aren’t the scores that you’ll report on your college applications, it’s still important to study for this test. Even if you aren’t applying for scholarships, every hour of studying you do for the PSAT will ultimately help you do better on the actual SAT as well.
The best way to prepare for questions about language structure and conventions is the Mometrix Study Guide. It covers all of the content from the entire PSAT, including clearly written explanations of the grammar, rhetoric, and sentence structure rules that you will be tested on. You’ll also benefit from the proven test-taking strategies outlined in the guide. They’ll help you prepare for all of the challenges you could encounter on test day.
You may also want to pick up a set of Mometrix Flashcards. With flashcards, you get all of the essential information you need but in a format that is a lot more flexible. Not only can you easily take them with you but you can come up with creative ways to study with them. The cards themselves will come with instructions for one of the most effective flashcard study methods you could use.
Upgrade your studying with our PSAT study guide and flashcards:
PSAT Study Guide
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