Skip links

Why should you take PSAT?

If you have googled this topic, chances are you are either a student in high school or are the parent of a high schooler. PSAT stands for Preliminary SAT which is basically a test modelled on the SAT but taken by students in the fall of junior year. The PSAT we are discussing is the PSAT/NMSQT.

There are PSAT-8/9 and PSAT-10 but taken in the 8th, 9th grade OR 10th grade respectively.

So why should you take PSAT? What is so special about it and how exactly is it different from SAT?

Let’s get to the answers to the above questions one by one:

Why should you take PSAT? What is so special about it?


You must have wondered what the NMSQT stands for – National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. So, if you take the PSAT/NMSQT and get a very high score, you may qualify for a National Merit Scholarship.

Students who receive high scores on the PSAT may also receive additional scholarship from schools and corporations.

Do note: When signing up for the PSAT remember to check the box to show your interest in the Student Search Service. The Student Search service is free and allows the College Board to share your information with almost 2,000 schools and programs.

Very good preparation for SAT:

PSAT is very similar to the actual SAT so preparing for the PSAT is as good as preparing for SAT. The test will give you a very realistic idea of how you will score in your actual SAT.

Know your strengths and weaknesses:

You will also know what your strengths and weaknesses are and can apportion your time accordingly to improve your SAT score without having to take the actual SAT exam.

How exactly is PSAT different from SAT?

PSAT score is not used for College Admission. SAT score is. That’s it. This is the very basic difference between PSAT and SAT. So, to get admission to good colleges you must do very well in SAT. It is not enough if you have a great PSAT.

As for the actual exam – PSAT and SAT differ only slightly in the duration and scoring

In the current version of the PSAT/NMSQT, the testing time is fifteen minutes less than SAT.

Also, PSAT has fewer questions than SAT, in the Reading and Math sections. Reading has 5 fewer questions, and Math has 10 fewer questions in PSAT compared to SAT. The Writing and Language section is identical in PSAT and SAT.

The PSAT is scored on a scale of 320–1520 and the SAT is scored on a scale of 400–1600.

So, have you decided to take the PSAT test?

It is better you take up PSAT, if not for the possibility of a scholarship then definitely as a practice session for the real SAT and focussing on your college goals early on. Wish you all the best in your PSAT preparation!
This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.