The PSAT and Why it is Important

psatAs the Homeschool Specialist at Bryan College I plan to use this forum as a means to communicate information useful to parents of teens as they prepare their children for life after high school!  Let’s talk about the importance of the PSAT!

The PSAT is a test that students should take before taking the SAT and/or the ACT.  The PSAT is given only once a year (in October) and the student’s junior year score is the score that counts towards the National Merit Scholarship.  A student can begin taking the PSAT before the eleventh grade, but the only score that counts towards the National Merit Scholarship is the test taken during the junior year.  Semi-finalists awarded the NMS qualify for full tuition at Bryan College.

The PSAT is not only a “practice” test of sorts, but it is the test that determines National Merit Scholarship awards!!

The PSAT is:

1.  Only given once a year (in October)

2.  Quite affordable ($13 – $25 depending on location)

3.  Offered to students younger than juiniors (as practice)

4.  Offered at most public and private schools

5. To earn a National Merit Scholarship a student has to qualify by scores earned in addition to meeting requirements.

6.  Becoming a NMS finalist is possible for each semi-finalist (a semi-finalist receives full tuition at Bryan College) who completes additional requirements.

The PSAT covers reading, writing, and mathematics. In 2015 the PSAT was changed in a manner similar to the SAT changes.  Homeschooled students can take the PSAT at a public or private high school.  Register your student for this test in September or early October so that a test booklet will be reserved for the student. Some schools require the student to be present at registration and the student must have an acceptable form of ID. This site includes a list of schools where this test is given.

The test is quite affordable, so having high school students take this test is advantageous for many reasons.  Again, it is only offered in October of each year.  Although the score received during the student’s junior year is the score that counts toward the National Merit Scholarship, a student can begin taking this test as early as ninth grade, and perhaps even earlier, depending on the policy of the staff at the facility offering the test.