Every year, high school juniors get the chance to compete for opportunities to win amazing scholarships by taking the PSAT. This exam is a student’s ticket to gain recognition and rewards from individuals and organizations interested in supporting their education. These sponsors use the results from the assessment to find students deserve the rewards.
The P in PSAT does not stand for Practice (SAT), but for Preliminary and is normally the first standardized test a high school student takes. This exam is the gateway to the National Merit Scholarship Program. By taking the PSAT, students enter a competition where they are compared with other test takers in their state, and the highest scorers will be rewarded with awards and scholarships! Other than being administered by the College Board, the PSAT is similar to the SAT only in terms of exam format. However, there is no essay section and all questions are multiple choice.
The PSAT is only offered once every year, typically in October. Students register to take this exam through their high school. The exam is approximately 3 hours and consists of the following sections:
The College Board National Recognition Programs offer academic recognition to students of certain minority groups, giving them exposure and aiding in their education. The honors awarded through this program can be added to a student’s resumé to impress colleges and encourage them to admit the student. They are not scholarship opportunities, but rather a symbol of academic excellence and are impressive in the eyes of college admissions officers. If you’re interested in receiving this recognition, be sure to indicate it when you take the test. If you forgot to mark YES, email the College Board National Recognition Programs at NHRP@scholarshipamerica.org to rectify the situation.
The National Merit®Scholarship Program gives sponsors the opportunity to award scholarships to students who stand out to them. When students take their PSAT, they have the option to sign up for the Student Search Service by selecting YES. This allows sponsors to find the students interested in competing for scholarships and sponsors will then evaluate eligible candidates to find winners. Sponsors can range from private organizations or individuals to colleges who are interested in enrolling the most talented students they can to their schools. Some colleges will even offer full scholarships to applicants they really want to be a part of their student body, allowing the colleges to shine bright amongst the others. Be sure to check YES to the Student Search Service option if you want a chance to win scholarship recognition!
Good luck to all of the juniors taking their PSAT exams today! Awards are announced through the students’ high schools in their Senior year. To all sophomores, start practicing for the PSAT now! The sooner you start preparing, the more you’ll grow by this time next year. Check out our PSAT/SAT courses to help you prepare!