The PSATs are given in October of each year. You should take them no later than the fall of your junior year in high school.

Get a booklet from your school counseling office and study it. The PSAT has fewer questions than the SAT I.

In our opinion: Unless you are determined to be a National Merit Scholar, don't spend money prepping for the PSAT. Save your money and your time for SAT or ACT prep. THEY are the tests that matter. IF you do take the PSAT, study for it as if you were preparing for the SAT.

Major reasons to take the test include: being freaked by tests, and feel the PSAT would help you get used to the test environment and prepare for the real SAT.

Shorter than the regular SAT, and not requiring an essay, the PSAT is still a wake up call about the SAT.

The Preliminary SAT®/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is a co-sponsored program by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

It's a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT Reasoning Testâ„¢. It also gives you a chance to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs.

The PSAT/NMSQT measures:

  • critical reading skills
  • math problem-solving skills
  • Identifying sentence errors
  • Improving sentences and paragraphs

    You have developed these skills over many years, both in and out of school. This test doesn't require you to recall specific facts from your classes.

    The most common reasons for taking the PSAT/NMSQT are:

    • To receive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study. You can then focus your preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice.
    • To see how your performance on an admissions test might compare with that of others applying to college.
    • To enter the competition for scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (grade 11).
    • To help prepare for the SAT. You can become familiar with the kinds of questions and the exact directions you will see on the SAT.
    • To receive information from colleges when you check "yes" to Student Search Service.

      Back to the top of PSATs

      Learn about the PSATs from the College Board

      The index page for all our SATs info

      Take a look at the SATS and ACTs

      Questions and Answers About the SATs

      SAT info for student athletes

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