PSAT: What’s The Point?

Sarah Blue

Sarah Blue, Writer

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Recently, many underclassmen took the PSAT. But still, students wonder why bother?

The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, better known as the PSAT, may actually be beneficial; it is considered practice for the SAT’s. Although students may wonder why it is so important, Melissa Longnecker assures students of its practical purpose, “The College Board sends you a detailed score sheet . . . they report in which area’s you are strong and weak.”

While the PSAT may be a parent pleaser for some , it is also an inexpensive way to get scholarships. The PSAT is the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. This scholarship program offers full rides to the top 1% of juniors that take it. In total, 192 colleges and universities have NM Scholarships; the number of scholarships distributed depends on the school. Even if you choose not to go to one of these schools, being in the top 1%, or having a prestigious high percentage NM award gives students a better chance of getting into other schools.

Studying for the PSAT is not necessary, but strongly suggested. When students purchase their ticket they are given a practice booklet and practice test. The PSAT is timed, 25 minutes for both critical reading sections and for each of the mathematics sections. The writing skills section consists of 30 minutes.  Online there are an abundance of excellent PSAT and SAT study sites to prepare students.

Colleges contact high school students over the winter after receiving PSAT scores; for many this is the first wave of college awareness. For many students it’s an informative way to learn about what types of colleges are out there.

The PSAT can be a very beneficial test; freshman and sophomores may want  to consider taking it next October.

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