PSAT Testing is January 26th for 10th & 11th graders

What is it and why should I care about it?

Cosponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT)—often shortened to PSAT—is a standardized test targeting 10th and 11th graders in the US. Every year, approximately 3.5 million students take the PSAT test at various high schools. But why take it at all?

As it stands, the PSAT is heavily connected to the SAT. One of the test’s primary purposes is to act as a precursor to the SAT—as the name suggests, as an SAT practice test. But the two tests aren’t identical. Regardless, for many students it is also the first exposure to any college admissions exam, including the ACT we tend to take in Louisiana, so students can get the practice on what to expect of a real college admissions testing.

In addition to being a preparatory test for college admissions testing, the PSAT is a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program. PSAT scores determine students’ eligibility for National Merit scholarships. Each year the top 1% of 11th-grade PSAT takers become Semifinalists. Semifinalists receive national recognition which can lead to lots of scholarship offers from various universities. Each year, SLCHS has been fortunate enough to have one to two Semifinalists.

How can my student prepare?

Through our English & Math classes, we have had our students completing test practice questions through a software program called Prep Factory. We encourage students to continue to take these assignments seriously.

There is also an official PSAT Student Guide that offers students insights and practice questions. In a normal year we receive a paper copy for each student, but College Board has indicated that we shouldn’t expect any materials before January 15th. Should the study guides arrive, we will certainly pass them out, but the document is linked above.

My student has a Service Plan, what happens?

We have filed your student’s paperwork with The College Board. The College Board makes an independent decision regarding disability accommodations and has notified us of their decision. Mrs. Holmes will be sending out emails to parents about the College Board accommodation decisions and what that means for the disabled student.