The primary test date for the 2017 PSAT/NMSQT is Wednesday, October 11th. If you’re not familiar with this particular test prep acronym, PSAT is short for Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (or pre-SAT) and NMSQT is short for National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Most US students take this test during their 10th or 11th grade year in high school, as a matter of general course curriculum. Students who receive top scores are eligible to receive scholarship funds for college through the National Merit Scholarship Program.
The National Merit Scholarship Program
The National Merit Scholarship Program uses the PSAT/NMSQT as a screening tool of approximately 1.6 million US high school students. Approximately 50,000 of the top scoring students on the PSAT/NMSQT are eligible for recognition and/or scholarship funds through the National Merit Scholarship Program. Roughly two thirds of the qualifying students will receive a letter of commendation recognizing their academic achievements, while the remaining one third will be named as semifinalists and continue on for a chance to earn one of three scholarship funding awards. In order to advance from semifinalist to finalist (and receive one of three scholarship awards), students must submit additional qualifying documentation, such as academic records and a recommendation from the school principal. Students must also take the actual SAT exam in order to validate their PSAT scores, as a condition of being considered for finalist status. Finalists are ultimately awarded a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship, a college-sponsored Merit Scholarship (if the finalist has been accepted to college at that time), or a corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship.
What Subjects Are Tested On The PSAT/NMSQT?
The PSAT/NMSQT follows nearly the same format as the SAT exam, with the exception of being a shorter test. The PSAT/NMSQT is a 2 hour and 45 minute test, while the SAT is 3 hours (plus an additional 50 minutes with the optional Essay). In addition, although scored on a common scale score with the SAT, the PSAT/NMSQT has a maximum possible score of 1520 vs the SAT’s top possible score of 1600. The two tests are the same in terms of what subject material is covered, with both measuring student performance in Reading, Writing and Language, and Math. The PSAT/NMSQT has a total of 139 questions to be answered in a total time of 165 minutes; the SAT has a total of 154 questions to be answered in a total time of 180 minutes (without the optional Essay) offering slightly less time per question than the PSAT/NMSQT.
Why Prep Now?
With a little more than a month before the national primary day of PSAT/NMSQT test administration, students still have time to complete an intensive test prep program to help them perform their best on test day. Comprehensive test prep programs should include content review in Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, active reading, data analysis and standard English conventions, and strategy development for best addressing each of the types of test questions, pacing, and overcoming test anxiety. Z Prep!, the test prep division of Club Z! In-Home Tutoring, offers in-home and online test prep for PSAT/NMSQT and SAT, with top tutors and proven strategies for maximizing test scores. For one-on-one, in-home test prep, call 800-434-2582 to connect with a tutor nearest you. Or register today for the September SAT group online class, which starts Saturday, September 9th and will continue through Saturday, September 30th.