PSAT/NMSQT: If you are in 8th or 9th grade in the Spring, talk to your High School NOW about taking the PSAT/NMSQT in mid October. Some schools order the exams in the spring and you want to be certain they have an exam for you, although schools are allowed to adjust their numbers as late as September. (Homeschooled families may have to contact several schools-public and private-to find a school that will allow you take the exam with their students. You will have to pay a small fee~$25)
8th and 9th graders should take the PSAT/NMSQT exam in October this coming Fall for practice, in their 9th and 10th grade year. Do NOT let high school counselors or anyone tell you 9th or 10th graders take the ‘PSAT-10’ or ‘PSAT-8/9’ and not the real PSAT/NMSQT. That’s BS! There is no rule against it! Make sure they order for you the real one. Why spend the money and time otherwise? Take the real test with real high school Juniors. Freshman and sophomores may not take it seriously. Studies show students who take the PSAT/NMSQT in October of their 9th or 10th grade year (or both) have a score increase of 10-15 points! That’s HUGE and could be the difference between a college scholarship or not. Don’t Take the Fake Test!
Will you do well in 9th or 10th grade? Nope! That’s not the point.
Take it in fall of 9th grade, cold. No real prep other than general PSAT test taking pointers. This is an opportunity to be relaxed, learn the test strategies, and become acclimated to the distractions.
If you are in 10th grade, start preparing for it. You can buy a PSAT prep book for a reasonable price. You only need to buy one, and you can re-use it through fall of Junior year to help you prepare. Once you’ve mastered the general instructions, get hold of used prep books for different practice questions. The PSAT exam made some changes in 2015, so don’t use any prep book prior to 2016.
WHY TAKE THE PSAT?
The PSAT/NMSQT is the the exam which determines eligibility for the NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARSHIP.. The scholarship from the College Board (who administers the exam) is not a huge amount of money BUT the prestige that comes along with it, opens a LOT of doors, and more scholarship opportunities. If you have a parent whose business participates in the National Merit Scholarship program, you could earn real scholarship money ($8000+). Do Not Miss This Window. You have only one shot in the fall of your Junior year to qualify. So take it for practice if at all possible.
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