The PSAT/NMSQT is a perfect opportunity for college-bound students to practice test-taking skills and compete for national scholarships. The highest scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT qualify to compete for scholarships offered through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, a cosponsor of the exam, and they can also receive prestigious recognition as National Merit Scholars. Additional scholarship programs that can help students who take the PSAT/NMSQT are the National Hispanic Recognition Program, the National Scholarship Service (NSSFNS) for African American Students, and the Telluride Association scholarship program for summer seminars.
In conjunction with the PSAT/NMSQT, students also are able to access an online college and career planning feature called MyRoad™. After taking the test, students will begin to receive information from colleges.
However, for most students who take the PSAT/NMSQT, the main purpose is to gain authentic practice for the SAT. The test not only builds familiarity with the SAT but also contains a diagnostic element that provides skills feedback so students learn from their mistakes.
Students have the opportunity to take the PSAT/NMSQT at the end of their sophomore year and again, if they like, at the beginning of their junior year. The PSAT/NMSQT follows the same format as the SAT except that it is shorter. Instead of a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes, the test takes 2 hours and 10 minutes.
High school students who take the test also receive My College QuickStart™, an online personalized college planning kit based on their test results—with access until they graduate high school. Students can take the next steps toward college with these powerful features:
- An online score report, including projected SAT score ranges, state percentiles, and the power to sort answer explanations by difficulty and question type
- A customized SAT study plan, including a full-length SAT practice test
- Personalized lists of colleges, majors, and careers that may be researched using MyRoad
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