By: Nevada Ryan


It is well known that the SAT is undergoing a major change next year. Beginning in March of 2024, the new SAT– the Digital SAT – will have a completely different format and be administered through a computer-based application. Less known, however, are changes affecting the preliminary versions of the SAT, otherwise known as the PSAT. As we approach the testing window for the PSAT/NMSQT (October 2nd through October 31st), it’s important to establish some facts about this test and how to prepare for it.


Starting this fall, all preliminary versions of the SAT (PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, PSAT/NMSQT) will be administered in the same way that the new Digital SAT will be administered next year. This means the following SAT characteristics will also apply to this October’s PSAT/NMSQT:


  • The test will take place through College Board’s Bluebook™ application. Students will download the application to a personal laptop, then bring that computer into the testing center to complete the test. This is not an at-home test. 
  • The test is adaptive. All digital versions of the SAT/PSAT are broken up into two sections, Reading & Writing and Math, and each section is divided into two modules. All students receive the same content for Module 1 of each section (this contains a mix of easy, medium, and hard questions). A student’s performance on Module 1 determines the type of questions he/she gets on Module 2 (either easy, medium, or hard questions). The content of Module 2, in other words, adapts to the student’s performance on Module 1. This means most students will get a different version of Module 2 for each section.

Students wishing to prepare for next month’s PSAT/NMSQT should do the following:


  • Download the Bluebook™ application and take practice versions of the PSAT/NMSQT (the test takes 2 hours and 24 minutes). 
  • Print out the four linear (paper/nonadaptive) versions of the Digital SAT and work from as many as possible. This will undoubtedly help with preparing for the content of the PSAT/NMSQT, but students should still complete some practice on the Bluebook™ application in order to get a feel for the computer interface they’ll be working with on actual test day.

Working with one of GE’s exceptional tutors, who can help diagnose weaknesses and sharpen testing skills, is of course the third and best option. In any case, students should work strictly with College Board-approved material– either the Bluebook™ tests, the linear tests, or even Khan Academy– and beware of digital PSAT or SAT content made by third parties, many of which are aggressively pitching their own custom-built tests that, though similar to the real thing, ultimately fall short of it. 


For further information on the SAT Suite of Assessments and how to begin tutoring for them, reach out to our office by or calling 888-917-PREP (7737).