The Digital Preliminary SAT

The College Board DPSAT (Digital Preliminary SAT) is offered on three levels: DPSAT 8/9, DPSAT 10, and DPSAT/NMSQT. The DPSAT 8/9 is for students in 8th and 9th grade, the DPSAT 10 is for students in 10th grade, and DPSAT/NMSQT is for students in 11th grade. The content-base is the same amongst all the tests, but is adjusted for each age level.

The DPSAT 8/9 is offered in the end of February or mid-October (each school decides when to administer the test.) The DPSAT 10 is administered once a year in the end of February- early March and the DPSAT/NMSQT is only administered on a date of each school's choosing in October. Once a test date has been chosen, individual high schools register students for the test and results become available online within a few weeks of testing.

Students may take the test yearly (and many schools suggest starting as early as possible), but only the results of the junior-year administration determine National Merit Scholarship qualification.


The DPSAT is 2 hours and 14 minutes and mimics the DSAT format:

    • Reading and Writing Module 1 | 27 questions in 32 minutes
    • Reading and Writing Module 2 | 27 questions in 32 minutes
      • 10-Minute Break
    • Math Module 1 | 22 questions in 35 minutes
    • Math Module 2 | 22 questions in 35 minutes
The DPSAT will be taken on a student's laptop in at school.

Reading and Writing

The Reading and Writing section is comprised of short passages and pairs of passages (25-150 words each), each with one associated question. Questions are systematically grouped into four overall categories and presented in increasing levels of difficulty. The four categories are:

    • Information and Ideas | 12-14 questions
      • Central ideas and details
      • Command of evidence
        • Textual
        • Quantitative (bar charts, line charts, and graphs)
    • Craft and Structure | 13-15 questions
      • Words in context
      • Text structure and purpose
      • Cross-text connections
    • Expression of Ideas | 8-12 questions
      • Rhetorical synthesis
      • Transitions
    • Standard English Conventions | 11-15 questions
      • Boundaries
      • Form, structure, and sense


The Math section covers four general content areas:

    • Algebra¬† | 13-15 questions
      • Linear equations in one and two variables
      • Linear functions
      • Systems of two linear equations in two variables
      • Linear inequalities in one or two variables
    • Advanced Math | 12-14 questions
      • Equivalent expressions
      • Nonlinear equations in one variable and systems of equations in two variables
      • Nonlinear functions
    • Problem Solving and Data Analysis | 7-9 questions
      • Ratios, rates, proportional relationships, and units
      • Percentages
      • One-variable data: distributions and measures of center and spread
      • Two-variable data: models and scatterplots
      • Probability and conditional probability
      • Inference from sample statistics and margin of error
      • Evaluating statistical claims: observational studies and experiments
    • Geometry and Trigonometry | 4-6 questions
      • Area and volume
      • Lines, angles, and triangles
      • Right angles and trigonometry
      • Circles

Approximately 30% of questions will be word problems, although the wording will be more direct than in previous test versions.

Approximately 75% of questions will be multiple choice with four answer choices. The other 25% of questions will be student-produced response (SPR) questions, which do not offer answer choices. For SPR questions, students must solve for their own answer, which can be a positive or negative fraction, decimal, or whole number. The multiple-choice and SPR questions will be intermixed throughout both Math modules.

Students are welcome to use a calculator on all math questions. The testing platform will provide an on-screen Desmos calculator and students are also welcome to bring their own approved graphing calculator. Scratch paper will be provided.

Multi-Stage Adaptive Testing

Each first module contains an assortment of easy, medium, and hard questions. Depending on a student's performance (see Adaptive Structure below), the second module will adapt and offer a selection of questions that are skewed easier or harder. As such, the stronger your performance throughout the first module, the more you are challenged throughout the second module. The difficulty of your second module will determine which score range is accessible to you (and there is overlap in the middle of the score range for the easier and more challenging second modules). The number of questions you answer correctly between both modules determines your raw score for that half of the test.

Adaptive Structure:

  • In Reading & Writing Module 1:
    • answering 18 or more questions correctly leads to the harder Reading & Writing Module 2
    • answering 17 or fewer questions correctly leads to the easier Reading & Writing Module 2
  • In Math Module 1:
    • answering 15 or more questions correctly leads to the harder Math Module 2.
    • answering 14 or fewer questions correctly leads to the easier Math Module 2.


A raw score is calculated for each set of modules (i.e. section) based on the number of questions a student answers correctly (one point per question). There is no penalty for guessing on the DPSAT, so it is in a student's best interest to guess when unsure of the answer. The raw score for each section is then converted to a scaled score (160-760) through a statistical process known as equating to account for variances in difficulty from test to test. The two section scores are then added together to calculate the overall score. Like the previous version of the PSAT, the overall scoring scale is 320-1520.

For information on the PSAT 8/9 Test visit:

For information on the PSAT 10/NMSQT Test visit: