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Writing Skills

Writing Skills questions present sentences and paragraphs that contain the kinds of errors students must look for and correct in their own writing. They measure how well students:

  • Express ideas effectively in standard written English
  • Recognize faults in usage and structure
  • Use language with sensitivity to meaning

The Basics

Get the facts on PSAT/NMSQT Writing Skills:

Academic Skills Tested

The PSAT/NMSQT is designed to test these specific writing skills — the same skills that are critical for success in college and career:

  • Manage Word Choice and Grammatical Relationships Between Words: Understand relationships between and among words, including subject–verb agreement, pronoun reference, and verb form and tense.
  • Manage Grammatical Structures Used to Modify or Compare: Understand correct use of adjectives or adverbs, comparative structures (such as neither and nor), and phrases used to modify or compare.
  • Manage Phrases and Clauses in a Sentence: Use well-formed sentence structures (e.g., parallelism, connectives, and relative clauses) to indicate relationships between and among sentence elements.
  • Recognize Correctly Formed Sentences: Recognize correct sentence structure.
  • Manage Order and Relationships of Sentences and Paragraphs: Identify how to order the elements of a sentence or paragraph to improve clarity, meaning, and the progression of ideas.

Related Topics

A Closer Look

Get deep info on reading skills, math concepts, and effective writing.

Official Student Guide to the PSAT/NMSQT (.pdf/2.47MB)

Test Day Reminders

Two No. 2 pencils? Check. Calculator? Check. What else should students bring to the test?

What to Bring on Test Day