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Guidelines to PSAT

 

1. WHAT IS PSAT?

PSAT or the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test is as the name suggests is a preparatory or pre-version of the SAT. To be taken in the junior years of 10th and 11th, this examination does not only help prepare for the SAT and the ACT, but it also opens your doors to the National Merit Scholarship Program and many more scholarship programs. If not for the highly rewarding scholarship dollars, this examination can also be taken as a practice for your SATs that will count on your resume or college application.

2. WHY DO I TAKE THE PSAT?

  • The PSAT is the only way to qualify for the national merit scholarship that can change your path for college admission or application
  • Your score indicates your potential SAT score. A good score indicates a potential for good SAT result
  • It is a great confidence boost and experience and good prep for the SAT
  • It is a good way to judge your effort, knowledge and expertise

3. WHAT IS THE NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM?

The National Merit Scholarship Program is a United States academic scholarship competition for recognition and university scholarships administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation since 1995. Every year, it awards scholarships to high scorers of the PSAT test of approx $180 million dollars. The conditions for qualifying for the scholarship are:

  • The student must attempt the examination during your junior year (9th – 12th)
  • The student must be an American citizen.

* If you’re not an American citizen, you are not qualified for this scholarship but there are many more scholarships that the PSAT test offers. This test can simply also be a great learning experience and practice for your SAT and ACT.

4. ABOUT THE PSAT:

  • The PSAT can be divided into three simple parts:

Evidence-based Reading – 48 Questions (60 minutes)

Writing and language – 44 Questions (35 minutes)

Math – 47 Questions  (25 mins–no calculator, 45mins-calculator)

  • The PSAT is 2hours and 45 minutes long with the highest score being 1520
  • There is no negative marking hence guessing a question is always better than leaving it
  • In evidence-based reading, the passages can be from world literature/ history/ sciences/ social study
  • Writing and language consists of Basic English conventions and expressions
  • Math consists of charts, data analysis, algebra, trigonometry, advanced math and problem solving

5. WHEN IS THE PSAT AND HOW DO I REGISTER?

  • PSAT can be taken only once in a year. It is usually scheduled in the month of October
  • You can register from your high school. If your school does not register for this exam you can contact your college counselors who will help you register with the schools in your district that do conduct them.

6. HOW SHOULD I PREPARE?

  • There are a lot of practice tests for PSAT/ NMSQT; these include the PSAT 8/9 and the PSAT 10
  • These help prepare you for the PSAT, NMSQT and the SAT

Register for all of them beginning in grade 8 because only practice makes a man perfect

About the Author

Ashna Agarwal is a student at Ivy Aspire.