How Important is the PSAT?

The PSAT, also called the Preliminary SAT, is a standardized test that mimics the layout of the SAT. Students typically take the test during their sophomore year in high school, though both younger and older students can also take it. Many schools use the exam to get an idea of how well students learned in their previous years and to predict how well they will do on the full version of the test. Though it may seem like your score doesn’t matter much, it actually does matter for a few key reasons.

General Performance Later

This test matters because it can predict your general performance later, especially in regards to your success in college. College classes often require that students do more independent thinking and that they learn how to apply what they learn in the classroom in their own lives. This standardized test includes a number of questions on deductive reasoning and test similar skills, which can predict how well you’ll do in college. Your score can also show your high school that you retained the knowledge you learned in your classes, even if your grades do not reflect that knowledge.

SAT Scores

As a preliminary version of the SAT, this exam can also predict how well you will do on the SAT. Though some schools offer the exam on a Saturday morning, others let students take the test on Wednesday mornings or later in the school week. No matter where you take the test, you will find that the conditions exactly mimic those you will face when taking the full exam. This lets you practice in a similar environment. The score that you receive will also show you whether you can take the SAT the following year or if you need to spend some more time preparing for that test.

Improve Your Confidence

Many television shows and films use the PSAT as a plot line and show a student with poor grades and less interest in school scoring high on this test, which eventually changes that student’s life. While your score may not make you the top student in your school, it can improve your overall confidence. Scoring highly can provide you with a feeling of euphoria and make you realize that you are just as smart as anyone else in your high school.

Get Big Scholarships

The biggest reason why this test matters is because it can lead to big scholarships. According to Annie Schugart of USA Today College, those who score the highest on the test have a chance at becoming a National Merit Finalist. If you score high enough, you become a semifinalist and can then apply to become a finalist during your senior year. Those who receive this coveted title can earn quite a lot in scholarship funds. Schugart points out that some colleges award finalists more than $100,000 a year in scholarship money. As a National Merit title holder, you’ll find that you can get into almost any college and that some colleges will actually compete to get you.

Standardized tests can often predict your future performance and success in both college and on other standardized tests. Though many high school students think the PSAT isn’t nearly as important as the SAT, your scores can help you become a National Merit and get lots of scholarship money.