PSAT 8/9

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Matt Silverman

Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning
(847) 998-5006
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Raquel Kim

Director of EL & Bilingual Programs
(847) 657-2479
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Alan Hernandez

Hispanic Community Engagement Coordinator
(847) 998-5014
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Tracy Tuchow

Administrative Assistant
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PSAT 8/9 Frequently Asked Questions


What is the PSAT 8/9? 
The PSAT 8/9 is designed for 8th and 9th grade students and will be used as one measure to help determine high school placement at Glenbrook South for the 2020-2021 academic year. The PSAT will also help educators and students figure out what they need to work on most so that they are college and career ready when they graduate high school. 

Scores for the SAT Suite of Assessments (SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, PSAT 8/9) are reported on a common vertical scale, allowing educators and students to measure progress through a students’ high school career. Presently, the state of Illinois will administer the PSAT 8/9 to all students in ninth grade, PSAT 10 to all students in 10th grade and SAT to all students in 11th grade. Taking all three tests, the PSAT 8/9, the PSAT 10 and the SAT provide one way to track academic progress. Also, students familiar with the PSAT tests may feel better prepared when taking the SAT junior year. 


What are the benefits of taking the PSAT 8/9?
The PSAT 8/9 establishes a baseline measure of college and career readiness, and reflects the learning students are doing on a daily basis. Score reports will give students comprehensive, personalized feedback on test performance, allowing students to see which questions were answered incorrectly and which academic skills they should work on to improve. Students will have the opportunity to upload their test results to Khan Academy and receive personalized learning plans to practice the skills that need improvement at the high school level. The online-score reporting portal also gives educators helpful information about students’ college and career readiness. 


What material is covered on the PSAT 8/9?
The PSAT 8/9 measures what students learn in school and what students need to succeed in college. Each test assesses the academic skills that students have developed over the years through coursework. These skills are considered essential for success in high school and college and career. 

The PSAT 8/9 consists of three parts: reading, writing and language, and math.

The reading test consists of 42 passage-based questions and lasts 55 minutes. All questions are multiple-choice and based on passages. Some passages are paired with other passages or informational graphics such as charts, graphs, and tables. Prior topic-specific knowledge is never tested.

The writing and language test consists of 40 passage-based questions and lasts 30 minutes. All questions are multiple choice and based on passages, and prior topic-specific knowledge is never tested. The writing and language test puts students in the active role of an editor who is improving a written passage. Most questions ask students to decide which, if any, of the three alternatives to an underlined part of a passage most improves it.

The math test consists of two sections with a total of 38 questions. Most math questions will be multiple choice, but some will be student-produced responses (grid-ins). The math test is divided into two parts: calculator and no calculator. A calculator is NOT required to answer any of the questions in either section, but it is recommended that a student bring a scientific or graphing calculator that they are familiar with to the testing site.

The PSAT 8/9 will last a total of 2 hours and 25 minutes. 

How is the PSAT scored?

  • Rights-Only Scoring
    • 1 point for each correct answer
    • 0 points deducted for each incorrect or blank question
  • Math Grid-ins
    • Enter answers as(reduced) fractions or decimals 
    • If rounding a decimal, make sure to use every box
  •  Scale
    • 120–720 for each test section
    • 240 – 1440 for the total score

How can students prepare for the PSAT 8/9?
Students don’t have to discover secret tricks or cram the night before. The same habits and choices that lead to success in school will help students get ready for the PSAT 8/9. The best way to prepare is to encourage your child to do their homework, prepare for tests and quizzes, and ask and answer lots of questions. In short, students should take charge of their education and learn as much as possible. 

You can find out what kinds of questions students will see on the PSAT 8/9 and what the test will measure here

To learn about what students need to bring on testing day, visit this page


Where can I learn more?
The complete PSAT 8/9 Guide with information about the test, test taking advice and tips, and directions and sample test questions can be found online here

To learn more about the PSAT 8/9 assessment, please visit any of the links below.