What is the PSAT?

The PSAT is a standardized test often taken by tenth-graders who are planning to apply to college in the United States. The test has two faces, as indicated by its full title: PSAT/NMSQT.

“PSAT” stands for “Preliminary SAT.” As the run-up test to the SAT, it is great practice. It gives students a rough idea of where they might score on the SAT exam. Bear in mind that the SAT is slightly different in format.

“NMSQT” stands for “National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.” It is the first step toward National Merit, Corporate-sponsored Merit and College-sponsored Merit Scholarship. To win, you must be a US citizen or permanent resident–but you can definitely take the test outside the US.

When should I take it?

Be sure to take the PSAT at the proper time to qualify for scholarship aid. Check the website of the National Merit Corporation for details. Read the instructions on the official website very carefully. Often, US students take the PSAT in tenth grade in order to get a sense of where they stand and what they need to work on to improve their score. The PSAT you take in eleventh grade (according to the US high school system) is what counts for the National Merit Scholarship competition. However, for international students, the big question is: What counts as eleventh grade for me? If you are an international student not in the US high school system, Athena Mentor suggests that you consult your school guidance counselor or Athena Mentor for personalized advice.

Why should I take it?

A high score on the PSAT will also bring you to the attention of colleges, which are always on the lookout for good students! This is true even if you are not a US citizen or permanent resident. It’s encouraging to have colleges writing to say they’d love to have you apply!

There are various forms of program recognition: commended students, semifinalists, finalists and winners. There are about 8,200 finalists each year. Special scholarships are also awarded to outstanding students who do not make it all the way to the finals. About 1,500 such special scholarships are awarded.

No matter how you score, you are sure to benefit. Read all about it at: www.nationalmerit.org Be sure to take the PSAT at the proper time to qualify for scholarship aid. Check the website of the National Merit Corporation for details.

How can I prepare?

Ready to start studying? You might want to join the students who are studying for the PSAT exam with Athena Mentor. If you have a small group of friends who would like to study for the PSAT, we will arrange a class for your group. Athena Mentor is also happy to provide one-to-one tutoring for the PSAT.

The names National Merit, Merit Scholarship, Merit Scholar, National Achievement, Achievement Scholarship, Achievement Scholar, and the corporate logo are federally registered service marks of National Merit Scholarship Corporation. PSAT/NMSQT is a registered trademark of National Merit Scholarship Corporation and the College Board.