The PSAT — Not just a practice test

If you’re a parent, do you remember taking the PSAT? I vaguely remember this experience happening in October of my junior year, being shuffled into the cafeteria with my #2 pencils, ready to fill in bubbles but really just thinking about lunch.

When I hear “PSAT” now, I sit up a little straighter. For some of our students the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test is nothing more than 2 hours of…. testing (so you can imagine how excited they are about that).

However, there are real benefits to taking the PSAT (yes, actual reasons!).

  • Scholarship eligibility for the top scorers through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (for students 2 years from college, so that means Junior year for most students).
  • To get a glimpse into your future SAT score. PSAT scores are great indicators of how you will do on your SAT with no practice or prep.
  • To get the detailed feedback on why you scored what you scored. You can save money on SAT prep if you know the exactly concepts and skills to practice before taking “the real thing.”
  • To get on the RADAR of colleges. Check the box that says “Student Search Service” and colleges will send you information.

In addition, all students who take the PSAT will have access to a college and career planning kit (all online) called “My College QuickStart.” You not only get to review the questions you just took on the PSAT (and how you answered), but a list of areas you need to review and practice. A “starter list” of colleges is also provided based on where you live and what you say you might want to study in the future. There’s even a college major and career matching section.

So while the PSAT might puzzle quite a few parents and students, it truly is a great jump-start to thinking about college, and the steps required to get there. Ultimately, higher SAT scores not only get you into the college of your choice, they qualify you for scholarships (that’s “free money” in case you’re unsure). It pays off to study and prep for the PSAT (especially for high-achievers who may qualify for the National Merit Scholarships), and most schools encourage sophomores to take it “for fun” just to get a sense of what the test is all about.

For more information on The Learning Curve‘s PSAT, SAT and ACT prep, contact us at Info (at) or call us at the office (425-562-3545) to discuss a program individually designed for your child’s goals!

(PSAT info for Issaquah Students)

August 3, 2011

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