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3 Reasons Your PSAT Score Matters
Strong PSAT scores can lead to scholarships and help students prepare for the SAT exam. By Ryan Maness
Most high school students are familiar with the SAT and spend considerable time getting ready for the exam. However, before they ever sit for the SAT, many will take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT), a standardized test cosponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
Many take this test without doing anything to prepare. Unfortunately, students often assume the exam is just a practice test that doesn't have any real value since college admission offices do not use the score to assess applications.
While it is true that the score is not a factor like the SAT and ACT in admissions decisions, a good performance on the PSAT is still crucial. There are three very important reasons your score matters.
1. Scores can lead to National Merit Scholarships: The National Merit Scholarship Corporation uses these scores to qualify semifinalists who are then considered for National Merit Scholarship competition. Recognition by the National Merit program provides a monetary award and can often be leveraged to secure additional scholarships.
2. Good scores can indicate performance on the SAT: The PSAT is a terrific way to familiarize yourself with the structure, content and process of taking the SAT and get a sense of how you'll perform on the actual exam. Your score can show you which subjects you may not be particularly strong in, regardless of your grades in related classes.
3. Doing well can provide a big confidence boost: Test anxiety and a fear of the unknown can have a negative impact on students taking the SAT for the first time. However, if you've already done well on the PSAT, you'll be at a distinct advantage. Just as rehearsing before a performance or practicing before a sports game gives you the boost of confidence you need to succeed, posting a solid score on the PSAT will do the same for your SAT-taking experience.
Additionally, the PSAT is a tool many colleges and universities use to identify students they think may make a good addition to their student body and who may be deserving of scholarships. You need to have a passing PSAT score to apply for dual enrollment at GCC while in your final high school years.
Further SAT and ACT practice Resources
M-Step Parent Video
The M-STEP is a 21st Century online test given for the first time in the Spring of 2015. It is designed to gauge how well students are mastering state standards. These standards, developed for educators by educators, broadly outline what students should know and be able to do in order to be prepared to enter the workplace, career education training, and college. M-STEP results, when combined with classroom work, report cards, local district assessments and other tools, offer a comprehensive view of student progress and achievement.
Get personalized study on Khan Academy®, download the app for daily questions, and simulate test day with full-length practice tests—it’s all free.
The SAT Suite of Assessments helps students navigate their path through high school toward college and career, and offers a range of unique benefits to students.
• Opens Doors to College
The SAT is an admission test accepted by all U.S. colleges, and the College Board has programs to encourage all students to take advantage of higher education.
• Builds Skills Over Time
The SAT Suite provides consistent feedback across assessments to help students stay on course and supports teachers as they adjust their instruction for students who are either ahead or behind.
• Prepares Students with Free Practice on Khan Academy
• Helps Students Plan Their Careers
• Connects Students to Scholarship Opportunities
• Increases Access to AP and College Credit
• Inspires Productive Practice
Within the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9, students encounter questions and tasks that closely resemble what is already happening in classrooms across the nation and the globe. This is why the best way to prepare for the assessments is to take challenging courses and to work hard in class.
Entering the National Merit Scholarship Program
When should students take the PSAT/NMSQT to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program?
The National Merit Scholarship Program is open to all students who meet entry requirements. Each year, some 1.6 million high school students enter the competition; 50,000 are recognized for their academic accomplishments and potential, and 8,700 win Merit Scholarship® awards or Special Scholarships for college undergraduate study. (Special Scholarships are provided by corporate sponsors for students who meet
their criteria and are high performers in the competition, but not Finalists.) Students who qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program are notified through their schools in September.
To enter the National Merit Scholarship Program, students must take the PSAT/NMSQT in the specified year of their high school program and meet other published entry requirements. Almost all entrants are in their third year (grade 11, junior year) of high school.
Students who are completing high school a year or more early who are in their last or next-to last year also may enter. For other situations, contact NMSC:
6 PSAT-Related Assessments Educator Guide
Mail: National Merit Scholarship Corporation 1560 Sherman Avenue, Suite 200 Evanston, IL