You may be familiar with the importance of taking the SAT for college during your junior year of high school, but have you thought about the benefits of taking the PSAT/NMSQT?
What Is the PSAT/NMSQT?
The Preliminary SAT (PSAT)/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying (NMSQT), is a practice test high school students can take in preparation for the SAT. Students test the same knowledge as the SAT, but in a way that speaks to the student’s grade level.
While it is true that your PSAT/NMSQT scores do not influence your admission decisions, there are three important benefits to taking the practice test.
Access to Scholarships
Taking the PSAT/NMSQT is one component you need to qualify for scholarships through the National Merit® Scholarship Program, and also connects you with other scholarship partners. On the day you take the PSAT, when you are asked if you would like to participate in the Student Search Service® you want to be sure to say “yes”. The Student Search Service® is a free service that has helped millions of students receive valuable information from colleges and nonprofit scholarship organizations. By opting into this service, you are authorizing The College Board permission to share your name and limited information with colleges and scholarship programs looking for students just like you.
Recommend AP Courses
Advanced Placement (AP) courses are college-level courses intended for students who have already completed in secondary coursework or who show motivation to complete college coursework during their high school studies. In order to be placed in AP courses, a student may be recommended by a teacher, self-nominate themselves, previously participated in relevant courses or provide scores on achievement tests.
A student’s performance on the PSAT/NMSQT can help schools identify students who may not have been initially considered for an AP course through a teacher, self-nomination or other local procedures.
Practice for the SAT
The PSAT in itself is a practice test of the SAT. By taking the PSAT, you will have free access to The College Board’s “My College Quickstart”, which gives you countless resources to help you improve your readiness for the SAT. In addition, The College Board provides you with a customized study plan based on your PSAT performance. It has been said that taking the PSAT more than once has helped students score higher on subsequent tests and also helped students feel more confident and relaxed when taking the SAT and ACT.
The SAT is obviously an important test to prepare and practice for, but the often overlooked PSAT is a crucial stepping-stone for anyone seeking scholarships, hoping to take AP courses, or wanting to become familiar with the test-taking processes of the SAT.
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