The Importance of the PSAT/NMSQT


The Preliminary SAT and the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test are taken by millions of high school students yearly. However, most parents and students don’t fully understand the possibilities these tests offer. In addition to preparing students for the hurdle of the SAT, the PSAT/NMSQT opens the door to countless scholarship opportunities and can provide invaluable insight on a student’s academic progress in route to college. Take a look at some of the bullet points below to learn more about the importance of the PSAT/NMSQT and the ways in which it can make a meaningful difference in the academic and collegiate life of your child. 

· The PSAT/NMSQT gives students a test-run of the real SAT.

Studies show that practice tests are among the most effective ways to absorb material for the long-term. When it comes to prepping for the SAT—one of the most important considerations when applying to college—the PSAT gives students excellent first-hand experience. Taking the PSAT affords students practice in time management, a sense of how questions and concepts are framed, and insight into what their weak spot may be. 

· The PSAT/NMSQT is a treasure trove of scholarship opportunities. 

When students take the PSAT, their results are automatically screened for the NMSQT, which is an academic competition to award scholarships to competitive students. While the PSAT serves as a valuable test-run, adequate preparation for this test shouldn’t be overlooked if you and your student want to pursue scholarship opportunities. Those interested in using their PSAT/NMSQT scores to connect with foundations and programs offering scholarship assistance can make use of the Student Search Service once scores are received. 

The PSAT/NMSQT gives students and their families insight into college readiness. 

Another benefit of the PSAT/NMSQT is that results offer tailor-made data about a student’s readiness for college-level courses. The PSAT/NMSQT is designed to asses a student’s progress toward college year-to-year. This sort of comprehensive, personalized feedback allows parents and tutors to help students target weak spots, fortify strengths, and hone in on the preparation necessary to boost scores or sure up academic goals. 

· The PSAT/NMSQT creates a road map for AP courses. 

The results of the PSAT/NMSQT guide parents, teachers, counselors, and students in determining which AP or IB courses are best-suited for a student’s skillset. This creates a natural transition for high school students entering higher-level courses, which in turn creates a more competitive and college-ready applicant in the future. 

While the PSAT/NMSQT may seem like just a warm-up for the real deal, in many ways it can be just as important. Whether results connect students with scholarship programs, alert parents and tutors to gaps in learning, or pave the way for greater participation in AP courses, the importance of the PSAT/NMSQT is not to be overlooked. At Achieve Academics, we offer an array of tutoring resources, from one-on-one work to group study, and more. Make sure your child never misses out on an opportunity—connect with us today and we’ll guide your student toward making the most of the PSAT/NMSQT this fall. 

The Top 3 Reasons Why the PSAT/NMSQT Matters More Than You Thought

PreliminaryScholastic Aptitude Test, as a simple test-run of moderate importance. However, the PSAT—and your student’s results—wields more influence than you might realize. Though available to students in both their sophomore and junior years, the stakes get higher during 11th grade, when PSAT results hold weight.

Here are a few key ways in which the PSAT goes beyond its role as a simple “practice” test.

1.     Becoming a National Merit Semifinalist

Perhaps the most desirable reason for students to perform well on the PSAT is that the results determine whether they qualify as National Merit Semifinalists. The PSAT designates the highest performing students in a state as semifinalists (who can ultimately become finalists). Semifinalists often qualify for large scholarships when it’s time to apply to college. Likewise, the title of National Merit Semifinalist (or Finalist) carries distinct weight when it appears on a college application.

After receiving their Semifinalist designation, students are invited to complete an application to achieve the title of National Merit Finalist. National Merit Finalists are likely to earn a high number of scholarships, as well as scholarships of greater value. Therefore, it’s possible that a student who performs well on the PSAT and earns his or her designation as a National Merit Finalist will be offered a better scholarship than a student who outperforms him or her on the actual SAT. That’s how important the PSAT can be in influencing scholarship awards.

2.     The PSAT Can Put Students on the Collegiate Map

The College Board administers both the SAT and PSAT, and by opting into their Student Search Service—free of charge—over 1,100 colleges can view a student’s hard-won score on the PSAT and begin to court him or her as a result. Likewise, successful students may pre-qualify for a number of scholarships, as well as receive invitations to apply to colleges that might otherwise have flown under their radar.

3.     Assessing Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Here’s where expectations align more closely with reality. As a preliminary test, the PSAT certainly functions as a barometer by which students and parents can determine weaknesses to address when tackling the SAT or ACT. Additionally, a solid performance on the PSAT can be a great confidence booster leading up the SAT, in combination with its practical role as a source of scholarships.  

Even as a preliminary test, preparation for the PSAT is essential if a student wants to claim the title of National Merit Finalist. That’s why at Achieve Academics we offer a variety of resources to properly prepare students for the PSAT—including one-on-one tutoring, small group classes, and more. For students aiming to put their best foot forward in the college application process, there’s no better place to start than prepping for and acing the PSAT.  

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