Juniors: Are you Taking the PSAT?

The PSAT/NMSQT will be administered on October 16 and October 19 to high school juniors. The PSAT is a "practice" test for the SAT and colleges do not see scores. So there is no need to prep for the test. But it can provide important feedback about where you need improvement.

Also, scores on the PSAT taken in the junior year are used to qualify students for the National Merit Scholarship competition, the best- known scholarship program in the country. So a strong score could translate into scholarship money.

The PSAT is also used to identify students for the National Achievement Scholarship Program, which is open to African American students, as well as the National Hispanic Recognition Program, the Telluride Association, and some other programs. Many of the most highly selective colleges and universities do not participate in the National Merit program because their financial aid is limited exclusively to need- based awards or because National Merit Scholar status, though meaningful and prestigious, may be the norm in their applicant pool rather than a distinction.  Additional information on the selection process for National Merit Scholars can be found at nationalmerit.org.

The PSAT/NMSQT is administered through your high school. If you would like to take the PSAT/NMSQT, contact your high school counselor or principal to find out about registration, payment and the date and time when your school will give the test in October. Also, contact your guidance office for a copy of the Official Student Guide to the PSAT/NMSQT to help you prepare before test day. If you do not attend a school that is offering the PSAT/NMSQT, you may want to contact a school in your area and request to take the test there. You can find more information here.


For more information on the PSAT and the National Merit Scholarship Program, as well as insight into how colleges view standardized testing and advice on how to create a testing plan, see Chapter 7, "Testing," in College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step. And find free test prep resources on our website here.

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