SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Does Your PSAT Score Qualify for National Merit?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 29, 2019 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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How to Become a National Merit Semifinalist

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 22, 2019 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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PSAT Score Needed for National Merit Scholarship

Posted by Dora Seigel | Sep 22, 2019 12:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Each year about 1.6 million juniors take the PSAT in the hopes of qualifying for the National Merit Scholarship Program. But what score do you actually need to earn Semifinalist distinction? In this guide, we'll tell you what PSAT score you need in order to qualify for Semifinalist status in your state and potentially move on to win a National Merit scholarship.

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Predicted National Merit Scholarship Cutoffs for 2019 and 2020 (Updated)

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 22, 2019 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 2019. 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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What's a Good PSAT Score for 2019?

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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How to Win a National Merit Scholarship

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 8, 2019 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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How to Get Your PSAT Score Report

Posted by Halle Edwards | Sep 1, 2019 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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PSAT Practice Tests - Updated for New 2015 PSAT

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Sep 1, 2019 12:00:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

If you're looking for PSAT practice materials, you've come to the right place. This guide contains all free PSAT materials, which you can download—including 10 PSAT practice test PDFs.

Unfortunately, since the PSAT's 2015 makeover, the College Board hasn't released a ton of practice tests. Luckily, though, you can still use old PSAT practice tests effectively to prepare. Before getting to the practice questions, we'll go over some of the changes made to the PSAT in 2015. If you care about your PSAT score, read carefully so you don't waste your time studying the wrong things!

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PSAT Practice Tests: Free Questions and Full-Length Tests

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jul 21, 2019 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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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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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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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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Should I Take the PSAT as a Freshman?

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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What Is the PSAT/NMSQT? Why Should You Care?

Posted by Christine Sarikas | May 22, 2018 8:00:00 AM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Have you heard about the PSAT or the National Merit program and are wondering what they are? Are you looking for ways to prepare for the SAT?

Read this guide to learn what the PSAT/NMSQT is, what it tests, and how it can get you ready for the SAT and earn you money for college.

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Should I Take the PSAT as a Sophomore?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | May 10, 2018 12:30:00 PM

PSAT Info and Strategies

Is it a good idea to take the PSAT as a sophomore? Here's a spoiler: Absolutely. Affirmative. A resounding yes.

When you take the PSAT as an 11th grader, there are some pretty high stakes attached in the form of National Merit distinctions and scholarships. Therefore, it's definitely a good idea to do a trial run before you sit for the one that counts for so much.

Let's talk about all the reasons it's a smart and strategic idea to sit for the PSAT as a sophomore.

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