Most of you know about a test called the SAT, it’s the basic standard test that everyone in the USA takes for education. But do you know what the PSAT is? Of course, it has the word SAT in it, but what does the letter ‘P’ stand for? Let us help you find the answer to this question and discover what the PSAT exam is all about.
Connection Between PSAT and SAT
High school students tend to be the main consumers of the PSAT. About three and a half million individuals take this exam every year. This kind of standardized test is targeted at students in 10th and 11th grade across the United States of America. The standardized exam is taken at various high schools.
But what separates the SAT and PSAT from one another? As it turns out, both the SAT and the PSAT are heavily connected. The PSAT generally acts as a predecessor to the SAT. One may even call it a practice test for the actual SAT. In terms of content, scoring, and structure, both tests tend to be influenced by each other very strongly. However, they are not identical. Let us lay out for you the differences between these two exams Click Here to Download.
For starters, the SAT test has a complete section for an optional essay, whereas the PSAT exam does not have any. When comparing the two in terms of difficulty, the PSAT is quite a lot easier in terms of cognitive and academic assessment. Lastly, the PSAT test also features a lot less questions than the regular SAT, thereby reducing its time as well.
Having discussed how the PSAT is quite different from, while still being similar to the SAT, let us now move on to the other facets of the standardized test. In addition to its preparatory role for the regular SAT, the PSAT also is the basic qualification test for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Simply put, the scholarships’ eligibility is determined through this very test. Roughly 7500 people go on to win this scholarship every year.
What Makes The PSAT Unique?
While there are so many similarities between the SAT and the PSAT, as we discussed already, there is a distinct pattern that the PSAT follows when it comes to the exam procedure. There are a total of three sections on this test, which are Reading, Writing, and Math. In this very specific order, these sections appear only once throughout the exam.
Similar to the Mathematics section in the actual SAT, the PSAT Mathematics part is also divided into two sections, one is designed for testing skills of candidates without a calculator, and one is for use with a calculator. Generally, the test is comprised of multiple-choice questions. However, there are exceptions to this. The mathematics questions are usually styled on a grid-in format, where one needs to solve and then write their answers to questions. Roughly eight questions in the test are generally grid-ins, as stated by the College Board.
Cost Factor – Balancing the Finances
At the moment, the PSAT registration fee is pretty small: around $16. However, this cost may vary depending on which school one is applying from. Various reasons contribute to why the fees may vary, which involves a few schools covering the fee for their students, thereby making the process entirely free for them, while a few schools tend to charge more due to the hiring of test proctors.
The procedure varies from school to school. The general advice that everyone should heed, is that your school will provide the primary set of instructions, and you should follow them. All you really need to do is pay for the test (if applicable). It is quite common for schools to ask for this fee around September of every year.
Not being able to afford the test is also a condition that a few people may face. For such cases, the PSAT fee waiver exists. These are generally awarded to 11th graders who are financially unstable. Proof of this, of course, will need to be proven via documentation. If your counselor believes that you qualify for a fee waiver from College Board, they may be able help you fill out the proper paperwork.
Should You Take the PSAT Test?
There are three specific reasons are for students to take the PSAT exam. The first reason is that it’s great practice for the actual SAT. This is generally a great opportunity for high school juniors to hone their skills, and prepare themselves for the upcoming SAT.
The second reason, is for the students who want to win the National Merit Scholarship. This reason should not be looked upon lightly, every year more than 1.6 million students from high schools across the United States apply for this scholarship, and only 7,500 end up receiving this prestigious award.
The last reason isn’t as common as the other two, this reason involves preparing for a second attempt at the PSAT exam because the first one didn’t work out so well. With these reasons in mind, why wouldn’t you consider taking the PSAT exam? The scholarship alone is worth the trouble.
Remember preparation is everything. Talk to your advisors, read instructions, and set the date for the test.