The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which is cosponsored by the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), is a standardized test usually taken by high school juniors, although younger students may take it as well. The test is provided only two times each year in October. Each high school that decided to offer the test could choose only one of these two dates.

The PSAT/NMSQT is available at most high schools. You can check to see which ones on this web address.

Keep in mind that all schools may not yet be registered for the 2016 test date, so if your school does not appear on the list, don’t worry! Ask a school official if they are planning on offering the test next year.

The PSAT may not get you into college, but it can help a lot. If you do well, you become eligible for scholarships and special programs that will give you a better chance at getting into your first pick of schools.

Check out some of the National Merit Scholarships and awards to see a few of the opportunities.

And if you don’t do well, it does not hurt your chances, so don’t sweat it! You probably needed the test-taking experience, and you will do better on the SAT as a result. Additionally, it can be a great experience for students who are not great at taking tests. It is almost identical to the SAT, down to the instructions on each section. In fact, the only critical difference is the reading/math/writing level of the questions, which is more appropriate for younger students.

Math Practice Questions

PSAT Critical Reading Practice Questions

Answer the questions after reading the following passage:

Peanut allergy is the most prevalent food allergy in the United States, affecting around one and a half million people, and it is potentially on the rise in children in the United States. While thought to be the most common cause of food-related death, deaths from food allergies are very rare. The allergy typically begins at a very young age and remains present for life for most people. Approximately one-fifth to one-quarter of children with a peanut allergy, however, outgrow it. Treatment involves careful avoidance of peanuts or any food that may contain peanut pieces or oils. For some sufferers, exposure to even the smallest amount of peanut product can trigger a serious reaction.

Symptoms of peanut allergy can include skin reactions, itching around the mouth, digestive problems, shortness of breath, and runny or stuffy nose. The most severe peanut allergies can result in anaphylaxis, which requires immediate treatment with epinephrine. Up to one-third of people with peanut allergies have severe reactions. Without treatment, anaphylactic shock can result in death due to obstruction of the airway, or heart failure. Signs of anaphylaxis include constriction of airways and difficulty breathing, shock, a rapid pulse, and dizziness or lightheadedness.

As of yet, there is no treatment to prevent or cure allergic reactions to peanuts. In May of 2008, however, Duke University Medical Center food allergy experts announced that they expect to offer a treatment for peanut allergies within five years.

Scientists do not know for sure why peanut proteins induce allergic reactions, nor do they know why some people develop peanut allergies while others do not. There is a strong genetic component to allergies: if one of a child’s parents has an allergy, the child has an almost 50% chance of developing an allergy. If both parents have an allergy, the odds increase to about 70%.

Someone suffering from a peanut allergy needs to be cautious about the foods he or she eats and the products he or she puts on his or her skin. Common foods that should be checked for peanut content are ground nuts, cereals, granola, grain breads, energy bars, and salad dressings. Store prepared cookies, pastries, and frozen desserts like ice cream can also contain peanuts. Additionally, many cuisines use peanuts in cooking – watch for peanut content in African, Chinese, Indonesian, Mexican, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes.

Parents of children with peanut allergies should notify key people (child care providers, school personnel, etc.) that their child has a peanut allergy, explain peanut allergy symptoms to them, make sure that the child’s epinephrine auto injector is always available, write an action plan of care for their child when he or she has an allergic reaction to peanuts, have their child wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace, and discourage their child from sharing foods.

10. According to the passage, approximately what percentage of people with peanut allergies have severe reactions?

  1. Up to 11%
  2. Up to 22%
  3. Up to 33%
  4. Up to 44%
  5. Up to 55%

11. By what date do Duke University allergy experts expect to offer a treatment for peanut allergies?

  1. 2008
  2. 2009
  3. 2010
  4. 2012
  5. 2013

12. Which of the following is not a type of cuisine the passage suggests often contains peanuts?

  1. African
  2. Italian
  3. Vietnamese
  4. Mexican
  5. Thai

13. Which allergy does the article state is thought to be the most common cause of food-related death?

  1. Peanut
  2. Tree nut
  3. Bee sting
  4. Poison oak
  5. Shellfish

14. It can be inferred from the passage that children with peanut allergies should be discouraged from sharing food because:

  1. Peanut allergies can be contagious.
  2. People suffering from peanut allergies are more susceptible to bad hygiene.
  3. Many foods contain peanut content and it is important to be very careful when you don’t know what you’re eating.
  4. Scientists don’t know why some people develop peanut allergies.
  5. There is no treatment yet to prevent peanut allergies.

PSAT Mathematics Practice Questions

1. Which of the following expresses the product 2/3 x 7/8 x 36/42 in lowest terms?

  1. 504/1008
  2. /72
  3. 1/2
  4. 1/4
  5. 3/4

2. The ski team has 16 boys and 24 girls. What fraction of the ski team are girls?

  1. 1/4
  2. 2/5
  3. 3/4
  4. 3/5
  5. 4/5

3. What fractional part of an hour is 400 seconds?

  1. 1/5
  2. 1/6
  3. 1/7
  4. 1/8
  5. 1/9

4. It takes Roxana 1 hour and 30 minutes to ride her bike on the uphill trip to the park at an average speed of 4 miles per hour. If she comes home on the same route at an average speed of 5 miles per hour, how long in minutes does the return trip take?

  1. 52
  2. 62
  3. 72
  4. 82
  5. 92

5. For what real number x is it true that 3(2x – 10) = x?

  1. -6
  2. -5
  3. 5
  4. 6
  5. 30

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