Sample PSAT Test Questions

By Peterson's Staff updated on Monday, March 24, 2014

Preparing for the PSAT? Try these sample PSAT test questions to see where you need to focus your study time and find out if you're ready for the exam. Answers are provided at the end of all the questions.

If you're looking for even more PSAT prep, check out the free online PSAT practice test available here at

Sentence Completions

1. Formerly ---- as a "dumb blond," Marilyn Monroe is now ---- as having been an intelligent, sensitive woman.

(A) sensationalized ... romanticized
(B) sabotaged ... described
(C) denigrated ... lauded
(D) recognized ... remarked upon
(E) romanticized ... redeemed

Critical Reading

Astral projection is synonymous with OBE — that is, out-of-body experience. The person who experiences this phenomenon leaves his or her physical body and enters what is called a subtle body, a kind of semi-transparent double that may be either clothed or naked. In the astral form, OBE travelers can roam about the earth or even visit non-earthly realms, passing through objects and moving at the speed of thought.

1. According to the passage, a subtle body is:

(A) the guide that shows the astral traveler other realms, earthly and non-earthly.
(B) the illusion of a semi-transparent double that makes astral travel possible.
(C) an exit in the physical body through which the soul of the astral traveler can escape.
(D) the form in which the astral traveler makes his or her way to other places, earthly or non-earthly.
(E) the thought-projection that enables the astral traveler to move swiftly.

Multiple-Choice Math

1. For what values of a and b is (a × b) < 0?

(A) a = 3, b = 0.0001
(B) a = –2, b = –0.0001
(C) a = 7, b = 0
(D) a = –1, b = –19
(E) a = –2, b = 3

Identifying Sentence Errors

1. Choose the letter that corresponds to the incorrect part of the sentence. If there are no errors, choose (E).

Both Janet and Tiffany want to be a veterinarian and work in zoos when they grow up. No Error.

(A) Both
(B) a veterinarian
(C) in zoos
(D) they grow up
(E) No error.

Improving Sentences

1. By the time they arrived at 2 a.m., I was so worried I am fixing to call the police.

(A) (No error.)
(B) I am calling the police.
(C) I am about to call the police.
(D) I was about to call the police.
(E) I've geared up to call the police.

Improving Paragraphs

(1) El Niño was originally recognized by fishermen who were fishing off the coast of South America who noticed an appearance that was unusual of some unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean, occurring very near the beginning of the start of the year. (2) El Niño means The Little One in Spanish.

1. In the context of the paragraph, which is the best version of sentence (1)?

(A) (As it is now.)
(B) Originally being recognized by fishermen off the coast of South America as an appearance of some unusually warm water, occurring very near the beginning or the start of the year; El Niño was in the Pacific Ocean.
(C) El Niño was originally recognized by fishermen off the coast of South America as the appearance of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean, occurring near the beginning of the year.
(D) Occurring near the beginning of the year, some fishermen originally recognized El Niño as the appearance of some unusually warm water, it occurred near the very beginning of the year, in the Pacific Ocean.
(E) Some fishermen originally recognized off the coast of South America, as an appearance of unusually warm water occurring near the very beginning or start of this year in the Pacific Ocean.

PSAT Answers

Sentence Completions

1. The correct answer is (C). Your logic will tell you immediately that the sentence is one of contrast ("dumb blond" contrasts with intelligent and sensitive, just as formerly contrasts with now). Given the choices, only (C) is a logical answer.

Critical Reading

1. The correct answer is (D). You might pick (B) because you believe astral projection is an illusion, but remember: The question begins "According to the passage..."

Multiple-Choice Math

1. The correct answer is (E). For (a × b) to be less than zero, either a or b must be less than zero. All the other choices result in values that are either zero or greater than zero.

Identifying Sentence Errors

1. The correct answer is (B). Noun number agreement is faulty in this sentence. Janet and Tiffany are two people; a veterinarian is one person.

Improving Sentences

1. The correct answer is (D). None of the other choices are written in the past tense, which is the time period the sentence describes.

Improving Paragraphs

1. The correct answer is (C). This is the least awkward and wordy of the five choices. Choice (A) is incorrect because it is wordy; "fishermen who were fishing" is redundant. Choice (B) is incorrect because the main idea of the sentence (the definition of El Niño as "unusually warm water") is put into an awkward subordinate clause. Choice (D) is awkward and contains a comma splice. Choice (E) is awkwardly constructed.

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