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Does the PSAT Matter? Should You Prepare?

Feb 22, 2022

Does the PSAT Matter?

The letter ‘P’ in PSAT may represent Preliminary. Still, it may also signify Panic. As part of the college admissions process, several universities and colleges ask students to take the SAT or the ACT. But, does the PSAT matter? The PSAT is a good alternative for offering it. In addition, the PSAT allows you to become acquainted with the exam earlier in high school, often in 10th or 11th grade. Even better, the PSAT qualifies you for college scholarships.

The PSAT/NMSQT is a high school supplementary standardized test. Unfortunately, most students assume that it is simply a practice test to determine how they will score if and when they take the SAT, which is a test that nearly every student will be expected to take when applying to university.


While the PSAT does prepare you for the SAT, it also does a bunch of other stuff that will benefit you in midlife. Regardless of whether you score well or not, it is suggested that every student should attempt the PSAT at least a year before the SAT. Because the PSAT is only given in the fall, often in mid-October, you would not want to skip it. Within this article, we shall discuss why the PSAT test is essential. Do PSAT scores matter, and should you prepare for them?

Do Colleges Care About the PSAT?

The PSAT is not used extensively by colleges and universities for making college admissions decisions. The SAT or ACT is considerably more important in determining your admission into college; therefore, the simple truth is “no,” universities don’t care about the PSAT. A perfect PSAT score will have no direct impact on your college admission chances.


Should you Prepare for PSAT?

If you are wondering Does the PSAT matter, know that most students take the PSAT without any preparation. Unfortunately, students frequently believe the exam is merely a practice test with no real meaning because university officials do not use the score to evaluate applications. While the PSAT score is not included in admissions choices, as it is for the SAT and ACT at many colleges, a good performance on the PSAT is still essential. So, to answer your question, should you prepare for it? In a nutshell, YES. 

Always keep your PSAT scores in mind. Though colleges will not see a low score, even if you don’t execute well, you won’t hinder your chances of getting into a prestigious institution or university. However, a high PSAT score can provide considerable benefits. 


Here is the list of several significant reasons why PSAT scores matter.

1. A High PSAT Score may Qualify you for a National Merit Scholarship:

Does the PSAT matter in availing scholarships? The National Merit Scholarship Corporation utilizes PSAT scores to decide which test-takers will move forward as semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. You’ll be racing against students from your state, and if you win, you’ll receive a $2,500 cash prize in a single payment.


Finalists and other noteworthy candidates also qualify for merit awards from colleges and corporations. They differ in value but can play a  significant role in their career. For instance, Baylor University in Texas sponsors the Regents’ Gold Scholarship, which supports total tuition fees for up to eight semesters for National Merit finalists interested in studying at Baylor. Similarly, Boston University offers a Presidential Scholarship worth $25,000 for four years to National Merit finalists who choose BU as their first-choice university.

So do PSAT scores matter? Educational fees are expensive, and scholarship competitions are often competitive. Students who score well on the PSAT can significantly reduce university admissions and financial assistance processes. Always keep in mind if you want to participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program, you must take the PSAT as a junior or, in addition to testing as a sophomore. PSAT 10 and PSAT 8/9 do not entitle you to National Merit Scholarships.


2. Your PSAT Score may Predict your SAT Performance in the Future: 

The PSAT is an excellent way to become familiar with the SAT’s subject matter, format, and test-taking procedures, as well as to get a perception of how you’ll perform on the main examination. Regardless of your grades in relevant subjects, your PSAT score can suggest which SAT subject you may not be particularly strong in.

Assume you scored 91 in ninth-grade English last year, but your PSAT reading test score is a 22. This means your ninth-grade English may not accurately reflect your ability to cope with terminology in PSAT reading. Furthermore, ninth-grade English may not have necessitated the same time-management methods as the PSAT and SAT. Similarly, if you received a 99 in ninth-grade math and a 36 on the PSAT math test, you may be quite certain that this is a personal strength.


In brief, your PSAT scores can indicate how prepared you are for the SAT and help you focus on studying areas where you are weakest to increase your score for the real exam – the SAT. Your PSAT performance can provide you with the information you need to create the SAT study strategy that is successful, efficient, and beneficial to achieving your greatest possible score. 

3. Doing Well on the PSAT Might Boost your Confidence: 

How do PSAT scores matter in gaining confidence? Academic stress, as well as general anxiety, can lower your SAT score the first time you attempt it. Conversely, if you have already performed well on the PSAT, you will have a significant advantage when it comes to the SAT.


Just like practicing before a performance or rehearsing before a sporting event give’s you the boost in confidence that you need to succeed, similarly, a strong PSAT score could do the same for your SAT-taking experience. Moreover, don’t presume that a perfect PSAT score assures a perfect SAT score or that it excludes you from studying for the SAT.

The SAT is longer than the PSAT and includes an essay part that the PSAT does not have. Assuming that your SAT success is guaranteed may result in a lower-than-expected score in the college admissions examination.

Underestimating the importance of the PSAT is a typical mistake but can be resolved. The PSAT test is an important step in preparing for SAT achievement. You can not only get a head start on your SAT prep by taking it seriously and working hard to get a competitive score, but you may also be able to secure scholarship funds.

4.  Investing Time and Money in PSAT Preparation will Never be a Waste:

Even if you do not qualify for a scholarship or underachieve on the PSAT, you are still preparing for the SAT, which you will have to take eventually, so your investment is never wasted. The more time you will spend studying for the SAT in the form of the PSAT, the better you’ll do on both tests and look to admissions and merit-based financial awards boards.

5. It doesn’t Matter whether you are Clear or Unclear; you’ll Learn Something Either Way:

Do PSAT scores matter in any other way? Yes, the PSAT scores you achieve will offer you an early indication of which parts of the SAT will be the most difficult for you, which will ultimately help you to prepare more efficiently. Try to learn everything you need to know about the PSAT, National Merit Scholarships, and practice tests to give your best shot in one go!!


To conclude, if you are an extraordinary student and test-taker who may be eligible for National Merit, you should prepare for the PSAT. If not, take it seriously so that it can help you plan for the real deal: the SAT or ACT. In various ways, the PSAT can assist high school students in preparing for the college admissions process. Taking the PSAT in high school is an excellent opportunity to improve your college application, prepare for the SAT, and maybe you can win a scholarship.



does the psat matter


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