SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

The New PSAT, Redesigned in 2015: Complete Guide

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Nov 3, 2018 10:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies, New SAT

If you're a high school student planning on taking the PSAT, you'll be taking the new and redesigned PSAT. This new version of the test started in October 2015 was administered to all students across the country.

We’ll let you know all about the PSAT format, scoring, and content and what you need to know to be prepared. Not only is the 2015 PSAT an important step in prepping for the SATs, but it also qualifies you for National Merit distinctions and scholarships.

Let’s dive into the changes in format, scoring, and content being made to the redesigned PSAT and what these changes mean for your test prep.

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What's a Good PSAT Score for 2018?

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Sep 24, 2018 12:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

The 2018 PSAT is coming up in mid-to-late October, and scores should come out by mid-December.

When you get your score report, you'll see a bunch of different kinds of scores, including your total score (out of 1520), your section scores (out of 760), and your Selection Index (out of 228).

Sorting through all of this data to figure out what's a good PSAT score can be tricky, so we've written this guide to understanding your PSAT score report. We'll begin with a quick run-through of the different types of PSAT scores, then get into how you can figure out how your score compares to that of other students.

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Predicted National Merit Scholarship Cutoffs for 2018 and 2019 (Updated)

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 13, 2018 8:30:00 AM

PSAT Info and Strategies

What score do you need on the PSAT to qualify for National Merit distinction? The answer to this question depends on where you live. To achieve National Merit recognition, you need to match or exceed the cutoff score in your home state.

We’ve compiled the National Merit Semifinalist state cutoffs based on the most recent data from the fall of 2017. Before checking out the qualifying scores, let’s discuss how the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) determines who is named Commended Student or Semifinalist.

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How to Become a National Merit Semifinalist

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 12, 2018 10:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies, College Admissions

Every October, about 1.6 million juniors across the country take the PSAT. Those who score in the top 1% achieve the distinction of National Merit Semifinalist. Most of these students move on to become National Merit Finalists, with some winning scholarship money for college.

Being named a National Merit Semifinalist is a huge achievement along the path to college. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to become a National Merit Semifinalist.

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What's a Good PSAT Score for a Junior?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 11, 2018 4:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

The PSAT is an important test on the road to college. Your scores predict how you'll do on the SAT. Plus, top scorers can earn distinctions and scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

So how do you know whether your PSAT scores are good? While what counts as a good score varies depending on your personal goals, we can give a more objective answer to this question by considering PSAT score percentiles. But first, let's review how the PSAT is scored. 

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Should You Prep for the PSAT? 3 Reasons Why

Posted by Laura Staffaroni | Sep 10, 2018 12:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Even if prepping for the SAT or ACT isn't the most enjoyable of activities, it's easy to see why it's important to do well on these tests. Depending on your point of view, SAT and ACT scores are either tools that colleges use to help figure out if you're a good match for them and if you'll succeed at their schools...or are admissions gatekeepers that you have to conquer if you want to attend most American colleges*.

By contrast, PSAT scores are never seen by colleges. Even if you get a perfect score on the PSAT, it's really only useful for helping you qualify for a National Merit Scholarship—something that only US citizens and permanent residents are eligible for.

So why prep for the PSAT, and what do you need to know about PSAT prep if you're interested in trying it out? Keep reading to find out more about the pros and cons of focused PSAT prep (rather than joint PSAT/SAT prep) and what our PSAT prep recommendations are.

 

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How to Get Your PSAT Score Report

Posted by Halle Edwards | Sep 10, 2018 12:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

How do you get your PSAT score report? Can you view it online? The PSAT score report works a bit differently than your typical SAT or ACT report.

We will walk through how to get your report and what to do once you have it.

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Does Your PSAT Score Qualify for National Merit?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 5, 2018 4:30:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Are you gearing up to rock the PSAT this fall and wondering what score you need to qualify for National Merit? This guide will give you 51 different answers to that question.

Don't worry, it's not a complicated response. It's just that the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) compares test takers on a state-by-state basis. To become a National Merit Semifinalist, you have to score in the top 1% of students in your state.

This guide will fill you in on all qualifying cutoff scores from coast to coast (plus Alaska and Hawaii) for the PSAT. But first, let's review exactly who qualifies for National Merit.

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PSAT Score Needed for National Merit Scholarship

Posted by Dora Seigel | Sep 4, 2018 12:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Each year more than 1.5 million juniors take the PSAT in the hopes of qualifying for the National Merit Scholarship Program. But what score do they need to earn Semifinalist distinction? In this guide, we'll let you know what PSAT score you need to qualify for Semifinalist status in your state and potentially move on to win a National Merit scholarship.

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How to Register for the PSAT: 3 Simple Steps

Posted by Hannah Muniz | Aug 17, 2018 11:00:00 AM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Every autumn, sophomores and juniors have the opportunity to take the PSAT. But how exactly does the PSAT registration process work? Does everyone have the same PSAT sign up date? What does it cost to take the PSAT?

Here, we'll teach you everything you need to know about PSAT registration. We'll start off with a brief overview of how registration works and then go over the three key steps you'll need to take in order to register for the PSAT. We'll then explain how to register for the test if you’re homeschooled or living outside the U.S. before finishing off with our top tips for ensuring a smooth PSAT registration process.

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How to Win a National Merit Scholarship

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 9, 2018 6:52:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies, College Admissions

 

Being named a Finalist is the highest academic recognition you can achieve from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It is a national distinction that places you at the pinnacle of academic achievement.

Not all Finalists are chosen to receive scholarships, however.  Only about 8,000 of 15,000 students gain this award. In this article we’ll talk about what scholarships are available through NMSC and what you need to do to get one.

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What Is the PSAT 10? Complete Guide

Posted by Halle Edwards | Aug 8, 2018 4:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Most high school students have heard of the PSAT NMSQT—aka the practice SAT that doubles as a qualifying exam for the National Merit competition. Fewer have heard of the PSAT 10, which is a version of the PSAT designed specifically for sophomores.

What exactly is the PSAT 10, and why should you consider taking it? Learn all about it here.

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What Is the PSAT Test? Everything You Need to Know

Posted by Hannah Muniz | Jul 31, 2018 12:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Most students know what the SAT is, but what is the PSAT? Sure, it's got "SAT" in its name, but is the PSAT actually connected to the SAT? More importantly, how does the PSAT test work and what is its purpose?

In this article, we’ll answer your most pressing question: what is the PSAT test? First, we'll explain the meaning of PSAT and why students typically elect to take the PSAT and then go over the logistics of the test and how scoring works. After, we'll culminate our analysis with a brief discussion about how important PSAT scores actually are for students.

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What Is PSAT 8/9? Should You Take It?

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Jun 9, 2018 8:30:00 AM

PSAT Info and Strategies

The College Board now offers the PSAT 8/9 to eighth graders and high school freshmen as the first hurdle in the group of tests they call the “SAT Suite of Assessments”. The PSAT 8/9 is a precursor to the PSAT 10, the PSAT/NMSQT and the SAT.

But when is the PSAT 8/9 offered? And should you even bother taking it? In this article I’ll give you all the details!

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About the PSAT/NMSQT: Expert Guide

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 7, 2018 2:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

If you think the PSAT is just a practice test, then you're missing a key part of the story. The Preliminary SAT / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, more commonly known as the PSAT/NMSQT or just the PSAT, is also essential in the competition for National Merit distinction and scholarships. Plus, it can help you figure out exactly how to study for the SAT.

This guide's dedicated to the PSAT/NMSQT, from its overall structure to how it’s scored to what kind of questions show up in each section. Before putting the test under the microscope, let’s go over the purpose of this test. What is the PSAT NMSQT for, anyway?

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