The Upcoming PSAT Administration

The preliminary SAT, also known as the PSAT/NMSQT ® (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is a practice version of the SAT Exam given to high school juniors across the nation. Younger students are also able to take this exam, but it is primarily designed for juniors. 

The PSAT qualifies students for merit-based scholarships at many schools. Based on the statewide cutoffs, students who perform well can either be designated as Commended Scholars, National Merit Semifinalists, or National Merit Winners. With a high enough score on the PSAT, one could qualify for the National Merit Scholarship, which offers $2000 from the CollegeBoard.

To recap some basic information about the PSAT, the exam is similar to the SAT, consisting of a reading, english, math with no calculator, and a math with calculator section. However, the english/reading and math sections are both out of 760 (as opposed to the 800 on the SAT), therefore making the maximum score possible on the PSAT a 1520. 

Similarly, some sections are abridged in the PSAT, as they have fewer questions. The math without calculator section and the reading section is shortened, and students are given less time. 

Aliso Niguel High School is holding the PSAT exam for juniors (and lower grade levels) on Oct. 15, 2022. It is taking place in person, and students are required to register beforehand. There is a registration fee of $40, and interested students can visit the school website to access the registration page. Based on availability, sophomores will be able to register. PSAT seats are limited, and are therefore available on a first-come first-serve basis, so registration fees should be purchased quickly.

Students will be able to receive their PSAT scores around December. Collegeboard mentions that PSAT scores “are typically available online 4-6 weeks after the test administration.” The cutoffs for the recognition and merit-based scholarships are determined statewide, and are released in the following year. 

Students typically try and prepare for this exam ahead of time. When asked about her study plan for the PSAT, Ashley Sie (11) mentions that she “has been studying for a few months” and recommends trying to study as consistently as possible. 

Prep books are a great way to study. Sie claims that she “bought an SAT prep book” and believes that it is helping her improve her score because there are detailed explanations for each question. 

The PSAT can be a great way to get preparation for the SAT. Since most students take the SAT their junior year, the timing of this exam gives them a great showing of where they need to improve and what steps are required to do well on the SAT. It also opens them up to many scholarships if a high enough score is achieved.