Redesigned PSAT VS. Redesigned SAT

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In case you haven't heard, the PSAT and the SAT received a major overhaul! The tests of the past faded from the memories of students who have taken them, the teachers who have helped students prepare for them, and the test creators who have written them as of March of 2016 . In their places, bright, shiny new tests stole the spotlight once held by these two exam standards.

So, how did the tests change?

What do those students, teachers, tutors, and test prep writers need to know now? How does the Redesigned PSAT compare to the Redesigned SAT? This chart should help clear up a few of those questions for you. Keep reading below for even more details. 


 Redesigned PSAT

Redesigned SAT

Total Testing Time2 hours and 45 minutes3 hours plus 50 mins.
for optional essay
Score Scale400 - 1600400 - 1600

Reading Test

Time60 minutes65 minutes
Number of Questions4752
Test Sections5 total: 4 single passages and
1 pair
5 total: 4 single passages and
1 pair
Passage Details3,000 words total over five sections. 500–750 words per passage or paired set3,250 words total over five sections. 500–750 words per passage or paired set

Types of Reading Questions

Words in Context10 questions (2 per section)10 questions (2 per section)
Command of Evidence10 questions ( 2 per section)10 questions (2 per section)
Analysis in History/Social Studies19 questions21 questions
Analysis in Science19 questions21 questions

Writing and Language Test

Time35 minutes35 minutes
Number of Questions4444
Test Sections4 total4 total
Passage Details1,700 words total from 4 passages; 400–450 words per passage1,700 words total from 4 passages; 400–450 words per passage

Types of Writing and Language Questions

Expression of Ideas2424
Standard English Conventions2020

Mathematics Test

Time70 minutes80 minutes
Number of Questions4757
Test Sections2 total: Calculator and No Calculator sections2 total: Calculator and No Calculator sectios

Types of Mathematics Questions

Multiple Choice3745
Student Produced Grid-In911
Extended-Thinking Grid-In11

Redesigned PSAT Scoring VS. Redesigned SAT Scoring

Since the PSAT and SAT went through such a major overhaul, testers are concerned about concurrence between the old and current exams and the redesigns.  Will students who have the old scores be penalized in some way for not having the most up-to-date test scores?

How will students taking the new exam really know what sort of scores to shoot for if there is there isn't a long line of former students with established SAT scores?

The College Board has developed a concordance table between the old PSAT and the Redesigned PSAT along with the old SAT and the Redesigned SAT for college admissions officers, guidance counselors and students to use as a reference. 

In the meantime, take a peek at the  SAT scoring changes and the SAT scoring frequently asked questions. There, you'll see average national SAT scores, percentile rankings by school, score release dates, scores by state and what to do if your SAT score is really, really bad. 

Redesigned PSAT Test Sections Vs. Redesigned SAT Test Sections

When you start practicing to take one of these exams (or both!), you'll need to familiarize yourself with the test sections on each before you begin. Here are the basics:

Redesigned PSAT

Redesigned SAT

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Your Citation
Roell, Kelly. "Redesigned PSAT VS. Redesigned SAT." ThoughtCo, Dec. 5, 2016, Roell, Kelly. (2016, December 5). Redesigned PSAT VS. Redesigned SAT. Retrieved from Roell, Kelly. "Redesigned PSAT VS. Redesigned SAT." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 21, 2018).