The preliminary SAT or the PSAT is often taken by the students before they take the SAT or ACT. It is a standardized exam conducted by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation. For the same reason, the exam is also known as National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test or just NMSQT.
The PSAT does not count in the admission process. However, students should not take the exam lightly. The exam can be gateway to National Merit Scholarships which can reduce your college loan. Moreover, you can use PSAT scores to gain additional scholarships. It can also help prime you for the SAT.
With a redesigned SAT, the PSAT will also see a change come fall 2015. The October PSAT will be composed of two sections – evidence-based reading and writing which contains reading and writing test, and math. The exam is 2 hours and 45 minutes long. Test takers can score a maximum of 1600 in the exam. Taking the test costs just $15.
Try to do well in the PSAT/NMSQT. Apart from the financial benefits of scholarships, a high score will keep you in good stead for the actual SAT. It will boost your confidence and acclimatize you with standardized exams – an experience which will be crucial during the actual SAT. Colleges also use it to gauge students and offer scholarships.