When should I take the PSAT?

The PSAT is offered only once per year, in October. Deciding when to sign up really boils down to what year a student should take the test. Is it better to take the PSAT in one’s sophomore year or junior year? The answer is both. Here’s why:

The PSAT does not directly factor into college admissions. There is no way in which a PSAT score (good or bad) could prevent a student from getting into the school of his or her choice. Therefore, there is no reason for a student not to take it both years. The PSAT is a good introduction to the SAT for sophomores, and simply represents extra practice for them. And who could not use more practice for the SAT test?

The PSAT is primarily extra practice for juniors as well. There is, however, the possibility that a student who scores well can qualify to become a National Merit Scholar. While a PSAT score will never hurt one’s chances of getting into college, being recognized as a National Merit Scholar will most certainly help. Finally, the PSAT is an excellent springboard for both sophomores and juniors who are getting ready to prepare for the real SAT test. It gives students a sense of what the test is like, how it is structured, and what kinds of questions it asks. Also, the score report tells students how well prepared they are, and what they can do to score well on the real SAT test––the SAT test that matters.

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