Practice for the PSAT to Get into College and Win Scholarships

on December 12, 2016

The PSAT/NMSQT is more than just a practice test. This exam prepares you for your future college admissions tests and may even earn you some scholarships. Scores are released each year in early to mid-December. Here is why they matter and why current high school sophomores should prepare for the PSAT.

A high score may lead to scholarships. Roughly 1.5 million students take the PSAT in the fall of their junior year in high school. About 50,000 of these students will qualify for a scholarship from the National Merit Scholarship Program. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation was founded to honor talented students and push them to develop their skills.

The National Merit Scholarship Program offers four different kinds of scholarships: merit scholarships awarded on a state-representational basis, corporate-sponsored merit scholarships designated by corporate sponsors for the children of their employees, college-sponsored merit scholarships presented by sponsor colleges, and various special scholarships. Only about three percent of test takers qualify for a scholarship, so it is important to do your best on the PSAT!

Your score may predict your performance on the SAT. By taking the PSAT, you become familiar with the structure and process of the SAT (and, to some extent, the ACT). You will also get a good sense of how you will perform on the exam. For example, just because you get an A in an English class, it doesn’t mean you will excel in that portion of the exam. Your class may not prepare you for obscure vocabulary words or specific writing skills. And, if you really struggle with a portion of the exam, check out these study tips to make sure you are ready for the big day!

Students with higher SAT and ACT scores are more likely to win scholarships. For example, students with a 1300 or higher combined SAT score are twice as likely to win scholarships as students with lower scores, on average.

A good score boosts your confidence. Test anxiety is a real and common problem students may encounter when taking the SAT. But, if you have already taken the PSAT, you will know what to expect. This will erase the fear of taking an unfamiliar test. Who knows – it may even help you achieve a higher score!

Underestimating the importance of the PSAT is a common mistake amongst students. But, this is a belief that can easily be corrected. The PSAT gives you a leg up on the SAT, which can help you get into a top-notch college. Start college preparations now and you will thank yourself in the future! 

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