Best Time To Take Math Level 2 Sat Subject Test PSAT – What is it, and Why is it Important?

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PSAT – What is it, and Why is it Important?

Most people have at least heard of the PSAT, but many don’t know exactly what it is. Is it just SAT practice? Do colleges look at PSAT scores? Why does the PSAT even matter, if it does? How does the PSAT relate to the SAT? The purpose of this article is to shed some light on what the PSAT is, how it differs from the SAT, and why it’s important to take it as seriously as the SAT.

The PSAT and SAT are similar exams published by the College Board that are designed to test a student’s ability to think critically. Many think of the PSAT as a “baby” SAT, which is actually a pretty accurate description. The main differences are:

  1. length. The SAT consists of ten sections and lasts almost four hours (3 h 45 min); the PSAT has five sections and lasts just over two hours (2 h 10 min).
  2. content. Both exams test the same subjects: writing, critical reading, and math, but the PSAT writing section does not include an essay portion and the PSAT math section does not cover Algebra 2 concepts.
  3. Score. The maximum score attainable on the SAT is 2400, and each area is worth 800 points. The maximum PSAT score is 240, with 80 points for each subject area.
  4. Test dates. The SAT is offered seven times a year; the PSAT is offered once a year, usually the third week of October. However, there may be more than one test date within that week.
  5. importance. Both exams are an important step along the path to university admission. Most people are already very familiar with the direct role the SAT plays in the college application process, but fewer clearly understand the importance of the PSAT. Many brush the PSAT aside, thinking, “it’s just a practice SAT” or “it doesn’t really count for college.” huge error:

The National Merit Scholarship
The PSAT is also known as the National Merit Scholarship Qualification Test (NMSQT). As the name suggests, students who perform well on the PSAT are eligible for the National Merit Scholarship. Awarded to 2,500 students in the United States each year, the National Merit Scholarship is a great honor that can also expand a student’s educational opportunities. Even being named a National Merit Scholar finalist or semifinalist can be advantageous to a student. Many schools actively reach out to these students through special programs and scholarships, not only because it is an indicator of a student’s academic ability, but also because these schools benefit from rankings if students choose to attend.

“But many people get perfect scores on the PSAT, so how can my son/daughter compete even if he/she ranks?” you may wonder A strong PSAT score is just one qualifying requirement—the proverbial foot in the door. A true National Merit Scholar must have a comprehensive set of accomplishments, extracurricular activities, and other qualities to propel themselves the rest of the way.

PSAT barometry
Although only juniors are eligible for the National Merit Scholarship, students can also take the PSAT as sophomores. Take it as a sophomore (or even earlier, if mom insists), it offers two benefits:

  1. Since the SAT and PSAT are so similar, it’s fair to say that a student’s performance on the PSAT is indicative of how well they’ll do on the SAT. Taking the PSAT early will help students and parents identify weaknesses, assess how much preparation is needed, and decide when to start preparing for the SAT. And since the two tests are written by the same people, if a student finds that they don’t answer College Board questions well, there’s still plenty of time to start looking for the ACT.
  2. It is important to note that students only have one chance to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship. Unlike the SAT, if a student does poorly on the PSAT, that’s it. There is no second chance. It’s a good idea to have students take the test as sophomores to see how close their scores are to the cutoff and then decide on a plan of action to prepare for the test.

Two tests, one stone
The SAT and PSAT are extremely important tests in slightly different ways. Fortunately for students and parents, the two are very similar. A student who is prepared for the PSAT will also be prepared for the SAT. Prepare early; practice consistently; and slays the two Goliaths of standardized testing with ease. Even if a student plans to take the ACT, test preparation has many principles that apply to any test, at any age, at any time.

It’s easy to overlook the PSAT in the hurricane of information surrounding the college admissions process, so be sure to keep an eye on this small but extremely important test and nail it before it passes and disappears into the storm .

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