The PSAT is meant to be taken as a preparatory tool in anticipation of the SAT. Taken by thousands of students each year, the PSAT provides a glimpse into what to expect on the actual exam and the changes that are being made. Method Test Prep's Director of Education, Andrew Peterson, shares all of the specifics you need to know about the current PSAT and the new PSAT.

Are You Up to Speed?

The PSAT will be changing much in the same way that the SAT is. Once again, if you are up to speed with the changes in the SAT, then most of the changes listed below will be old news to you, but make sure to stick around to the end of the article to ensure that you are up to speed with the many small differences between the new SAT and new PSAT. In our previous post you got a glimpse of the changes to the Reading section; now let's dive in a bit deeper.

PSAT Writing/Language


  • 35 minutesThe PSAT is Changing
  • 44 multiple-choice questions
  • 4 passages
  • 1 passage: Careers
  • 1 passage: History/Social Studies
  • 1 passage: Humanities
  • 1 passage: Science


  • Expression of Ideas
  • Modification of sentences to ensure that they convey a clear and concise message
  • Standard English Conventions
  • English grammar including but not limited to proper agreement, diction, and punctuation

What This Means for Students

This section, by the numbers, will be a literal carbon copy of its corresponding section on the new SAT. This means that on the new PSAT there will be the same number of passages and questions for students to deal with as on the new SAT, keeping the time constraints unchanged. So heads up students, this will most likely be the best direct indicator of your future SAT performance on any given section based off of its corresponding PSAT section.


There will be a shift from the editing of single, unrelated sentences to a much more broadly based editing of full passages. Fortunately, if you have taken the old SAT or PSAT you will be familiar with paragraph editing as these tests each have at least five questions at the end of the primary writing section that ask you to improve certain portions of written paragraphs. Additionally, if you are familiar with the ACT, this section appears to closely resemble that of the English Test on the ACT.

Although the questions between the two sections on the new SAT/PSAT and the ACT may be phrased differently and there may be some slight variations in the specific material that is tested, they will largely bear a strong resemblance to each other. This means that students should not only make sure to have a good handle on grammatical agreement, diction, and punctuation, but also on relevance and redundancy of information.

Interested in learning more? Keep an eye out for the next part of our PSAT blog series when we break down the changes on the PSAT Math section.

ACT blog 2