It is likely that your school offers this test in October, and you have two options for that day: show up and take the test or ditch school and play Fortnite. The PSAT is a preliminary version of the SAT and it is typically offered free of cost to high school Sophomores & Juniors each fall (note: there are different versions for each grade level). There are a few reasons to take the PSAT that are worth mentioning before you decide to sleep in that day.
First, if you are a Junior and are good at taking standardized tests, then you should probably show up since you’ll have a chance to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship. The National Merit program is an academic scholarship program that started in 1955 and awards academically talented students in the US. Over a million students take the PSAT and if you score well enough, this commendation looks great on your college application. If you can score in the 1400 range, then you’ve got a fair shot at qualifying. If you qualify in the top 50,000 or better, then it looks really great for your college application! You may not be awarded the scholarship, but it certainly shows that you are trying and admissions committees generally reward effort.
No matter if you’re a Sophomore or Junior, if you’ve never taken a standardized test from the College Board before, this test is good exposure to get you prepared for the SAT. The PSAT is shorter and the content is easier than the SAT, so if you struggle on it greatly in October, then you should probably consider starting to prepare for the SAT sooner, rather than later. This is especially true if you dream of attending a top university.
Of course, this isn’t the most important college prep decision you’ll make, and it likely won’t hurt your college application. If you would rather put your time and attention into catching up on other schoolwork or extracurriculars, then you can likely skip this test.
If you're still unsure, give us a call, and one of our experts would be happy to talk to you about which decision is best for you!