University of Virginia

PSAT Confusion

It’s PSAT week and a reminder how confusing the PSAT can be for parents, not for students!  Here’s what you need to keep in mind.

The PSAT serves two purposes:  (1) It is a practice test for the SAT when taken by sophomores or juniors.  (2) It is part of qualifying for National Merit Scholarships but only when taken by juniors.

What that means is that if your student is a sophomore, go ahead and take the PSAT and view it as good practice.  Don’t worry about the score.  Some counties won’t pay for the sophomore PSAT but will for the junior PSAT.  If your student is a junior, take the PSAT to participate in the National Merit Program.

There is a practice test available online, but the PSAT as a sophomore is good practice in standardized test taking, with no stress attached.