Description: The test is split up into three different sections. You'll have 60 minutes to answer 47 reading questions, 35 minutes to answer 44 writing questions/tasks and 70 minutes on 48 math questions. Like the new SAT, you will not penalized for wrong answers -- or for guessing, essentially. Not used to determine college admissions; intended to help students prepare for the SAT. Same format as the SAT, but shorter – a test of verbal and mathematical reasoning.
Usually Taken: During your sophomore or junior year, though you may wish to take it sooner for practice.
Tips and Strategies: If you do well on the PSAT (and meet additional academic requirements), you may qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program (a nationally distributed merit-based scholarship).
Only scores from the junior year are used to determine qualification for National Merit Program.
Description: Scale ranging from 200 to 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing; 200 to 800 for Math; 2 to 8 on each of three dimensions for essay. Essay results reported separately. The test is split up into three different sections. You'll have 65 minutes to answer 52 reading questions, 35 minutes to answer 44 writing questions/tasks, 80 minutes on 58 math questions and 50 minutes for the essay.
Usually Taken: Spring of your junior year or fall of your senior year (or both, if you want a practice run).
Tips and Strategies: It used to be that the SAT carries a "wrong answer penalty." If you guessed right, you gained a point; if you guessed wrong, you were penalized. Now, you can guess without risking your SAT score.
You can retake the test to improve your score, but your college will send all available scores to your prospective college, including the results of tests you have taken previously. The SAT does not allow students to send only their latest and/or best scores.