What Kind of Math Is on the PSAT/NMSQT Test?

What Kind of Math Is on the PSAT/NMSQT Test?

Most scary things in life seem a little less scary once you have experienced them. Why is this? Well, maybe it’s because we know what to expect from them.
Well, what if this scary thing was a PSAT math test? Wouldn’t it be less scary to know what to expect during it?

Keep reading to do just this.


The PSAT test is a 70 minute, 48 question. It is divided into two sections. It is a mixed-format with 40 multiple choice questions and 8 grid-in questions. Students are given 45 minutes and the option of using a calculator for the first section (31 questions). They are given 25 minutes and cannot use a calculator for the second section (17 questions).

Please note that students should check that their calculator is an approved one on the official PSAT Math Test Website.

Calculators allowed during testing include:

  • Most graphing calculators (in the following chart)
  • All scientific calculators
  • All four-function calculators (We do not recommend them)

List of approved calculators on the PSAT test

  • Algebra FX 2.0 series
  • CFX-9800 series
  • CFX-9850 series
  • CFX-9950 series
  • CFX-9970 FX-6000 series
  • FX-6200 series
  • FX-6300 series
  • FX-6500 series
  • FX-7000 series
  • FX-7300 series
  • FX-7400 series
  • FX-7500 series
  • FX-7700 series
  • FX-7800 series
  • FX-8000 series
  • FX-8500 series
  • FX-8700 series
  • FX-8800 series
  • FX-9700 series
  • FX-9750 series
  • FX-9860 series
  • FX 1.0 series
  • FX-CG-10
  • FX-CG-20 series
  • FX-CG-50
  • FX-CG500
  • Graph 25 series
  • Graph35 series
  • Graph75 series
  • Graph95 series
  • Graph100 series

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PSAT Math Concepts:

PSAT Math questions are divided into 4 area types:

  1. Heart of Algebra,
  2. Problem Solving & Data Analysis,
  3. Passport to Advanced Math, and
  4. Additional Topics in Math.

Let’s unpack them one by one:

1. Heart of Algebra:

Here you will find questions to test your analytical ability to solve linear equations. More advanced Heart of Algebra questions will test your ability to interpret linear equation relationships.

2. Problem Solving & Data Analysis:

These questions center around linear, quadratic, and exponential equations. The ability to interpret graphs, tables, and charts and synthesize algebraic expressions into simpler forms is key for this type of question.

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3. Passport to Advanced Math:

Advanced Math will test your comprehension of the measures of expressions, such as perimeter, area, and circumference. It will include questions on slopes and transformations.

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4. Additional Topics in Math:

Anything in math that isn’t encompassed in the above-listed 3 sections falls under this domain. This includes limited geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, as well as simpler math topics like the mean, median, and mode. These will not include topics that weren’t covered in high school (that would be mean!). Just don’t be surprised if there’s a question or two on the Pythagorean Theorem.

When you succeed to plan, you plan to succeed. You’ve done your research on the test. You know what you need to know for it. Now it is up to you to learn it. Review PSAT Math concepts, take sample PSAT Math practice tests, and you will be on the right track to ace the PSAT Math test.

Best of luck in your studies!

To measure your exam readiness, take a Full-Length PSAT Math Practice Test.

PSAT Math FREE Resources:

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