The Preliminary SAT, generally known as the PSAT, is a test given by College Board with the participation of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Students generally take it during their junior and sophomore years in high school. However, the NMSC only considers the junior scores when deciding who gets the scholarships. Now, is the PSAT important?
People who are planning on taking the SAT take the PSAT more frequently now that it is similar to the actual SAT test. In the past, the grading scale was a little different and it only had verbal and math sections. Now the test also counts its writing and essay parts. Here are other reasons why students take this test.
High schools in the United States have special programs and tutors in order to help students be ready for the SAT. But, sometimes the best learning tool is just practicing and seeing that graded. That’s why every year, more and more high school students choose to take the PSAT. That way, they have a better idea of how the actual test will look like and the type of question they will be asked in it. They want to see if they are on the right path, if their skills are good enough to, not only pass the exam but to also get a good score on it.
To find out which areas need more attention
The test helps students who want to improve the skills they already have and make progress in the areas that they struggle in. The PSAT is a big help in finding out which aspects need more practice, and which are perfectly fine. Why practice reading four times a week and math two, if the area that needs more studying is the latter?
To be compared
A little bit of competition is always good. It helps students fight harder and improve even more. Test scores can be compared with classmates’ which will help the student find out correct answers and maybe even new methods to solve a problem. They will ask themselves: if someone got a higher grade why can’t I do the same?
To get a scholarship
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation works with College Board when applying these exams. They want to find the best students to reward with a scholarship. Junior students’ scores are taken and compared with those from other schools. Those who get the best scores have the opportunity to win a full-ride scholarship.
To make a good first impression
Universities and colleges don’t only receive SAT scores, they also get the PSAT scores from different high schools. This helps students because they can start creating a good impression. Getting a good score means staying at the top of colleges’ lists. That score, together with the SAT scores, will be a very important step in any student’s acceptance process.
Regardless of the reason you decide to take the PSAT, maybe you want to get a scholarship or just get an idea of what the actual SAT looks like, I encourage you to take it.
Studying for the ACT / SAT / PSAT, or just have questions about them? We’ve got a whole bunch of articles to help you out. While you’re at it, check out how your exam scores affect your acceptance odds at the colleges you’re interested in with our free college match tool.