The PSAT 8/9 Reading and Writing Section

The Reading and Writing section includes 54 questions evenly divided between two modules. You have 32 minutes to answer the questions in each module (~1 minute and 11 seconds per question). To help you budget your time, questions that test similar skills and knowledge are grouped together and arranged from easiest to hardest.

What the Reading and Writing Section Questions Are Like

The Reading and Writing section of the digital PSAT 8/9 is designed to measure your success with building critical college and career readiness in literacy. In this section, you’ll answer multiple-choice questions requiring you to read, comprehend, and use information and ideas in texts; analyze the craft and structure of texts; revise texts to improve the rhetorical expression of ideas; and edit texts to follow core conventions of Standard English.

Passages in this section, which serve as the basis for answering test questions, represent the subject areas of literature, history/social studies, the humanities, and science.

Select questions in this section are accompanied by an informational graphic.

The questions in the Reading and Writing section fall into four broad categories:

  1. Craft and Structure
    Questions in this domain measure the comprehension, vocabulary, analysis, synthesis, and reasoning skills and knowledge needed to:
    • Understand and use high-utility words and phrases in context.
    • Evaluate the structure and purpose of texts.
    • Make connections between topically related texts.
  2. Information and Ideas
    Questions in this domain measure comprehension, analysis, reasoning skills and knowledge, and the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, and integrate information to:
    • Evaluate central ideas and details.
    • Show command of evidence from text, tables, bar graphs, and line graphs.
    • Make inferences.
  3. Standard English Conventions
    Questions in this domain measure the ability to edit text to conform to core conventions of Standard English sentence structure, usage, and punctuation.
  4. Expression of Ideas
    Questions in this domain measure the ability to revise texts to improve the effectiveness of written expression and to meet specific rhetorical goals.