The PSAT/NMSQT (Practice-SAT and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) helps students practice for the SAT as well as qualify for the National Merit Scholarship. It's also a gauge to check for college and career readiness.
The PSAT measures math, reading, writing and language skills. It shows areas where a student is doing well or can improve on in order to get ready for SAT and college applications.
Why should you take the PSAT/NMSQT?
- To open the door to college. The PSAT/NMSQT may be a student's first official step on the road to college. It can prompt some to consider college as an option and others (who already know they're going) to jump-start their search.
- To practice for the SAT. On average, those who take the PSAT/NMSQT earn higher scores on the SAT than those who don't. One reason: The tests have the same formats, directions, sample questions and question types.
- To earn scholarships and academic recognition. By taking the test, juniors may be eligible to enter the National Merit Scholarship Corporation's scholarship competitions, as well as programs that give special recognition to high-achieving Hispanic and African-American students.
- To begin the college search. The student Search Service gives PSAT/NMSQT test takers the option to voluntarily place their names in a pool of college-bound students interested in receiving admission and financial aid information from colleges, universities and scholarship agencies.
- To see how one's academic skills compare with those of other college-bound students. PSAT/NMSQT test results will give most students their chance to see how their skills compare with those of others planning to go to college.
- To help direct a learning plan for high school. Test results in the PSAT/NMSQT Score Report gives students feedback on their important college-related verbal, math and writing skills. Students can use this information to fine-tune learning plans, including appropriate course selections that will get them ready for college-level work.
How to prepare for the PSAT/NMSQT test:
- The Student Guide provides sample questions and information on how to prepare for the PSAT/NMSQT test. This is a valuable resource for parents and students.
- PSAT offers free personalized practice in the areas students need improvement through Khan Academy.
- Students can link their Khan Academy account to their college board account to get recommendations for practice.
- Link your College Board account to Khan Academy by first creating a Khan Academy account at khanacademy.org/sat.
- When prompted, agree to link your KHAN Academy and College Board accounts. You will then be directed to the College Board website.
- Sign into your College Board account.
- When prompted, hit "Send" to authorized the account linking.
- Start practicing using the Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy.
What to bring on test day:
- Two sharpened #2 pencils with soft erasers (no mechanical pencils)
- An approved scientific or graphing calculator is recommended.
- Extra batteries for a calculator or backup calculator. (optional)
- We encourage students to bring snacks and drinks to eat during the two five-minute breaks (nothing allowed during the test). (optional)
- Current and valid school or government issues photo ID
- Layers of clothing to adjust to the temperature in the room
What NOT to bring on test day:
- NO Cell phones, smartwatches or wearable technology! Please leave them in your car, locker or give to the Proctor when you arrive in the testing room. Students are not allowed to go to their locker during the test, even during breaks. (If your phone makes a noise or you are seen using it at any time during the test, including breaks, you will be dismissed and your scores will be cancelled.)
- Audio players/recorders, tablets, laptops, notebooks, Bluetooth, or any other computing devices
- Pens, mechanical pencils or highlighters
- Separate timers of any kind
- Paper of any kind, including notes and scratch paper
- Unacceptable calculators that have computer-style (QWERTY) keyboards, use paper tape, make noise, or use a power cord
There is not cost for sophomores to take the PSAT. The NMSQT for juniors is $17 paid to the bookkeeper.
For students needing testing accommodations please contact your school counselor.
The PSAT/NMSQT test normally takes four hours for students to complete but can vary depending on pre-test administration or approved student accommodations.
If your student took the PSAT/NMSQT test on October 16th, 2019, scores will be available mid-December.
- Go online with College Board to access scores. Click on "sign up" and "create and account."
- Use the Understanding Scores information to help understand your student's PSAT/NMSQT scores.
Please contact Jennifer Pickett at 208-525-4475 if you have any questions regarding PSAT/NMSQT testing.