Have you seen athletes practice for a big game? Be it running a marathon or a high jump, no one goes to the Olympics on day one. It takes years of relentless practice clubbed with intermittent competitions. The practice puts the athlete in good stead. The intermittent competitions help the athlete understand where he/she stands with respect to competition. Both these factors help an athlete to be well prepared for the grind of Olympics.

Continuing with this example, the SAT is your Olympics, whereas the PSAT/NMSQT are your rounds of preparation for the real deal. Are you thinking, this is a far-fetched example? Is it, really? A great score in a PSAT may not get you an Olympic medal but it can get you a National Merit Scholarship. There have been instances in the past, where the National Merit Scholarship has covered the education expenses of a worthy candidate 100% from some of the best institutions in the USA. Got the point?!

Why should one sit for the PSAT?

Is the National Merit Scholarship the only reason to sit for the PSAT? Are there any other reasons why one should take the PSAT? Does it even help to take the PSAT? These and more questions are natural in the minds of many students considering this route to the SAT. I’d like to bring the following benefits of why you should definitely sit for the PSAT.

National Merit Scholarship

Let’s discuss and get the obvious out first. If not the only reason, one of the important reasons to sit the PSAT is the National Merit Scholarship. PSAT the only way to qualify for this sought after scholarship. Then again, PSAT scores of junior year are only considered and not that of sophomore year. If you are among the top one to five percent of scorers in your state, you stand a very high chance of bagging the scholarship. PSAT then is your necessary step.

Training for the SAT

99.99% of students who sit the PSAT have never ever in their lives sat down for more than an hour. The PSAT and even SAT for that matter are more than an hour long tests. Can you imagine yourself having the will power and unshakeable determination to go through the grind of a 3 hour high intensity competitive exam just like that? If you are saying yes, then you are a rare phenomenon. If the answer is no, then you are a normal human being who can benefit from the training of preparing for the PSAT and sitting for the exam. This will eventually help you in your SAT too.

Student Search Service

Student Search Service or the SSS is an opt-in service where College Board helps you share your information with more than 1000 colleges. These colleges take it upon themselves to find the best of students for their programs. As an aspiring college goer it works in your benefit to be available for colleges to reach you. Based on your scores and performance on the PSAT, these colleges also offer financial benefits to join their programs. It works in our favor totally. You don’t have to really go through the rigmarole of applying to all these 1000 colleges (nobody does that!). On top of it, you might not even know some of these good colleges.

My College Quick Start

All students who sit for the PSAT get access to ‘My college quick start’. It is a free resource that allows you to predict your SAT scores. It further helps you identify the colleges that will fall in the line of your scores. That is not all, you can even get a preview of the choice of majors and career choices that will be available to you at a particular score. This is a handy tool for you to have a practical estimation of your abilities. The predicted scores will help you identify you areas of strength and weakness. This further can be used to design customized SAT study plans to improve your overall score.

Comparison with competition

The PSAT is taken by almost all high school students. It helps you know where you stand in comparison to your own class mates in the competition. There is no way to plan your time and effort for your SAT if you don’t even know where you stand currently.

These are really the basic and important reasons to sit for the PSAT. In a nutshell, the PSAT put you on your best foot forward. Who wouldn’t want to start on a good note!