Should I Take Both the PreACT and the PSAT?

Flickr user Christopher Rogers

When you’re in your sophomore and junior years, you may be starting to decide whether you’ll be taking the SAT or the ACT for your college applications. This should also be the time you’re signing up for the prep exams: the PreACT and the PSAT. While many students might only take one or the other, it may be beneficial to you to take both.

Helps You Determine Your Strengths

Taking the PreACT and the PSAT around the same period of time may seem overwhelming, but completing both can really determine your strengths regarding the formatting and content of each test. You may find you do much better on the PreACT than the PSAT. In this case, you will probably want to focus your efforts and study time on purely the ACT.

It will also help you discover which test format you find more comfortable. You may be more adept at the PSAT’s formatting than the PreACT or you may find you’re struggling with SAT time constraints, but don’t have the same issue on the ACT. Taking both exams will definitely give you an idea of how you stack on each and help you avoid any test day jitters in the future.

Helps You Determine Your Weaknesses

While the PreACT and PSAT are different tests, they also have many similarities. They will both have sections on math for example, but the exam questions will vary each time the test is retaken. You might find you excel in one area of math and need a bit more work in another. After all, the test questions will be different when you take the real deal.

Whether you decide to take either the ACT or the SAT, taking both prep exams can really do double duty when pointing out where you have to improve. This is especially helpful if you are aiming for a specific score. You can easily narrow in on where improvement can take place.

Can Help You Win Scholarships

Even if you’re absolutely set on taking the ACT in your junior or senior years, you might want to consider still sitting for the PSAT. Not only will it give you the extra practice, but you may qualify for scholarships and recognition if you score high enough thanks to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Your scores on either the PSAT or the PreACT may also help you qualify for other academic scholarships, even if it’s not through the PSAT program. Colleges as well as local or regional programs may consider your test scores when looking at your overall academic achievements. This could win you a scholarship based on merit.

While preparing and studying for both the PreACT and the PSAT may seem like an extremely daunting task between school, homework, work, and other activities, it could prove extremely beneficial to you. You may find you qualify for scholarships, saving you money on college expenses, or you could discover that even though you were going to take the SAT, you did phenomenal on the PreACT. Plus, a little extra practice never hurts!

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Hilary Cairns

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