SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Predicted National Merit Scholarship Cutoffs for 2021 and 2022 (Updated)

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 19, 2021 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 2020. 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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PSAT Practice Tests: Free Questions and Full-Length Tests

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 2, 2021 8:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Why buy a bunch of PSAT practice tests when you can find them online for free? To make your search as easy as possible, I've compiled all the best PSAT practice tests and sample questions available online.

Read on for 10 downloadable official PSAT practice test PDFs, along with 10 bonus SAT practice tests. Since the College Board has only released two official practice tests for the current version of the PSAT, I'll also explain how you can modify older practice tests to effectively prepare for the test.

Let's get right to it with the first official PSAT practice test PDF for you to download. 

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How to Win a National Merit Scholarship

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jul 3, 2021 6:52:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies, College Admissions

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

To become a Scholar, you need to first become a Finalist. But not all Finalists win scholarships: only about 8,000 of 15,000 students win this award. In this article, we'll talk about what scholarships are available through the NMSC and what you need to do to get one.

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What Is the PSAT Test? Everything You Need to Know

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Posted by Hannah Muniz | Mar 6, 2021 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? We'll start by explaining the meaning of PSAT and why students typically elect to take it. We'll then go over the logistics of the test and how PSAT scoring works. Finally, we'll finish with a brief discussion about how important PSAT scores actually are for students.

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How to Register for the PSAT: 3 Simple Steps

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Posted by Hannah Muniz | Mar 6, 2021 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 with a brief overview of how registration works and then go over the three key steps you need to take in order to register for the PSAT. We'll also touch on how to register if you're homeschooled or living outside the US before finishing with our top tips for ensuring a smooth PSAT registration process.

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What's a Good PSAT Score for 2020?

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Posted by Christine Sarikas | Sep 16, 2020 1:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Are you taking the 2020 PSAT? If so, you'll want to have a solid understanding of what score to aim for and what your score report shows. In this guide, we'll explain everything you need to know about PSAT scores, including what score you should be aiming for, what score you'll need to meet National Merit cutoffs, and what PSAT score you'll need to impress colleges.

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The 30 Best PSAT Memes to Destress During Test Prep

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Posted by Ashley Robinson | Apr 26, 2020 5:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

2018 was a banner year for PSAT memes. That’s because the College Board released a statement forbidding students to create memes about the 2018 PSAT exam. The result? The internet was flooded with amazing PSAT memes. 

The College Board definitely shouldn’t have tempted students! 

There are a ton of great ones out there, so it was difficult to whittle down our list of the best PSAT memes. But we rose to the challenge! 

So without further ado, here are the 30 best PSAT memes. 

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What Is the PSAT 10? Complete Guide

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Posted by Halle Edwards | Apr 5, 2020 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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Should You Take the PSAT 10 or PSAT NMSQT?

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Posted by Halle Edwards | Apr 5, 2020 8:00:00 AM

PSAT Info and Strategies

The two tests are very similar, but not identical. So which one should you take?

Back in my day (when dinosaurs roamed the earth), there was just one version of the PSAT, a.k.a. the Practice SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. But now, the College Board has multiple versions of the PSAT, including the PSAT NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) and the PSAT 10.

So what are the differences between the two tests? And which one should you take? Read on for an exclusive guide.

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Can You Get PSAT Scores Early? How?

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Posted by Hannah Muniz | Apr 4, 2020 1:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Oftentimes the most stressful part about the PSAT isn’t actually taking it but rather waiting for your scores to come out. How nice it would be if you didn’t have to wait six to eight weeks for your PSAT scores! But is it possible to get early PSAT scores, well before the official release date?

We'll answer this question here and tell you when PSAT scores typically come out. We will also give you some tips for what you can do in the meantime as you wait for your scores.

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What's a Good PSAT Score for 2019?

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Posted by Hannah Muniz | Sep 13, 2019 2:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Taking the 2019 PSAT? Then you’ll want to have a decent grasp of what a good PSAT score for 2019 is. There are three main ways you can define good 2019 PSAT scores: (1) using percentiles, (2) using National Merit score cutoffs, and (3) based on the SAT scores you’ll need for colleges.

In this guide, we start by going over how PSAT scoring works and the most important information you'll see on your PSAT score report, from scores and subscores to percentiles. Then, we dive into our three definitions of what good 2019 PSAT scores are.

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What's a Good PSAT Score for 2018?

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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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Should You Prep for the PSAT? 3 Reasons Why

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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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About the PSAT/NMSQT: Expert Guide

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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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Should I Take the PSAT as a Freshman?

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Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 1, 2018 10:30:00 AM

PSAT Info and Strategies

It's never too early to start planning!

When should you start preparing to apply to college? When you sign up for the SAT? The day you choose your freshman year classes? From the time you learn to read your first picture book?

This might be a matter of debate between you and your parents, but we can all agree that planning starts long before you actually start filling out applications. So to put yourself on the track for college success, should you start freshman year off by taking the PSAT?

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