Since the PSAT 8/9 is for diagnostic purposes only, we do not recommend test preparation. It’s not about getting a certain score; it’s about evaluating academic potential. In fact, preparing too much may prove harmful to the purpose of the test and may not provide an accurate measurement of your student’s current academic abilities. Plus, many test preparation programs simply lead to unnecessary anxiety. However, we do recommend that you become familiar with the test format and content so that you and your student know what to expect.
The test measures reading, writing, language, and math skills developed both in and out of school and emphasizes the meaning of words in a variety of contexts; how word choice shapes meaning, tone, and impact; reasoning and critical thinking skills; and relevant math concepts, including problem-solving, data analysis, algebra, and other advanced mathematical concepts. Visit the PSAT 8/9 website to learn more.
The PSAT 8/9 uses rights-only scoring. That means you receive a point for a correct answer, but no deduction for an incorrect answer, and blank responses have no impact on the overall score. This is the same scoring policy that the high school-level SAT and ACT tests follow.
You can learn more with the College Board’s PSAT 8/9 Student Guide, which also includes sample questions.
Students qualify for the 4th–6th Grade Talent Search by achieving a score in the 95th percentile or higher on a qualifying exam. Once enrolled, for a onetime fee, they receive access to benefits until the end of sixth grade, including optional above-level testing; enrichment activities like the book club, writing and illustration contest, and specialized publications; and eligibility to apply to TIP’s educational programs.