What I Wish I Knew About the PSAT

Two years ago when I sat down to take the PSAT I knew NOTHING about the test.  I didn’t know what subjects were on it, how long it took, or even what materials I needed.  Only later was I able to understand that the test many take as a joke actually holds serious value for college-bound high school students.  Although I took my PSAT seriously, I didn’t grasp the importance of trying my best on a test that would never “officially” go on my transcript.

Three things I wish I knew:

1. The PSAT is an awesome way to  practice taking standardized tests in an official setting without the added anxiety that comes from the seriousness of the real tests.  It can give great insight into where you might score on the actual SAT and more importantly what areas you need to focus on to improve your score.

2. One of the more serious aspects of the PSAT is the National Merit Scholarship.  With this test, students have the ability to earn national merit recognition if they score in the top 1% of their state. This status provides students with the opportunity to stand out when applying to college and have the chance to receive academic scholarships.

3. Studying for the PSAT holds enormous value.  It not only allows you to contend for national merit recognition, but it also gives you a head start on SAT prep before most students have even thought about standardized testing.  Prepping for the PSAT is the perfect segue into actual test prep and creates a great foundation of testing habits that can be used for any form of testing, standardized or not.

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