The SAT is a standardized exam essential for college admissions in the United States that attempts to assess the competency of a student. Along with high school grade point average, the test is used to measure the readiness of a student to succeed in college. The SAT helps college admission committees to standardize students’ secondary school records, providing a better indicator of where a student stands relative to other competing applicants. For almost all universities in the United States, the SAT (or ACT) is required for admission.

The PSAT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is a standardized test used to determine a student’s eligibility and qualification for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Students must register for the PSAT through high schools that are members of the College Board. The exam is comparable to the SAT, but is moderately shorter in length.

Typically, the SAT is taken by high school juniors and seniors, while the PSAT is taken by sophomores and juniors. Both exams are now digital, and consist of 2 sections: Reading and Writing and Mathematics. Each section is divided into 2 equal-length modules, the first of which contains a mix of easy, medium, and hard questions. Based on how students perform on the first module, the second module will consist of more difficult questions or less difficult questions. Section scores range from 200 to 800 (160 to 760 for the PSAT). The overall SAT or PSAT score is calculated by summing up the two section scores.