PSAT

PSAT/NMSQT:  

The PSAT/NMSQT exam coordinator is Mrs. Bafus (bafusr@msd281.org); her office is in the Career Center (Room 125A).

Parent notification letter from College Board regarding personal identifiable information collected, free score sends and their Student Search Service.

Fall 2021 PSAT/NMSQT Student Guide


PSAT:  Practice or preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test
NMSQT:  National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test

Exam registration deadline is October 1, 2021 at the end of the school day:  

Sophomores
can register online using this Google form.  Your test is paid for by the State of Idaho.  Use your school email and register only once.

Juniors will need to pay $18 to take the exam and should bring EXACT change or a check to Kayce Gregory in the Counseling Center to sign up for the exam.  She is there 7:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Exam date & time:  Wednesday October 13, 2021 at 8:10 a.m.
Makeup exam:  Tuesday October 26, 2021 @ 8:10 a.m.  

Testing room assignments will be posted.

The standard test will conclude at approximately 11:30 a.m. and be excused by approximately 11:45 a.m.

Accommodated testing will take longer and those students will be contacted directly to confirm times testing rooms.



What is the PSAT/NMSQT?  The PSAT/NMSQT is a standardized test that is taken in October.  It measures the knowledge and skills in reading, writing, and math students learn in the classroom, and scores are considered a measure of college readiness.  Junior students who take the exam can qualify for scholarships through the NMSQT.  The NMSQT is an academic competition for recognition and college scholarships that began in 1955.  Typically, high school juniors are eligible to enter the scholarship program by taking the PSAT/NMSQT which serves as an initial screening each year for 8,600 scholarship awards.  The top one percent of test-takers per state may be eligible to participate in the National Merit Scholarship competition.  Corporations and colleges sponsor the scholarships.  Top scores on the test have the potential to qualify students not only for the National Merit Scholarship program but also for substantial scholarships at many different colleges. Read more about the NMSQT at College Board.  

Who takes the PSAT/NMSQT?  The exam is optional for sophomores and juniors.

Benefits of taking the exam:  Taking the exam as a sophomore will allow you to become familiar with the test layout and help you know what to expect for the SAT and what is important for you to be learning about in school for this exam.  For juniors, it is another practice opportunity for the SAT and it is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program.  Every time you take the test you will get better at it.  The format and content of the PSAT/NMSQT is almost the same as the SAT (Khan Academy).

Do I need to study?  You can.  Usually studying for a test increases your chances of getting a better score.  Your PSAT/NMSQT student guide has a practice test insert that you can score yourself.  Khan Academy has detailed SAT information, practice, and diagnostic tools that can help you focus your studying on your areas of need and they have paper tests as well.  Khan Academy recommends taking two full paper practice tests because you get a realistic sense of how long the test is and where you tend to get tired or mentally blocked.  According to Khan Academy, if you study the SAT prep materials they offer, you will be more than prepared to succeed on the PSAT/NMSQT The PSAT/NMSQT and SAT tests focus on what you have already learned in high school.  They measure your reasoning and critical thinking skills.  If you decide to study, set up a realistic schedule, and take a break the night before the test (Khan Academy). 

Test length:  PSAT/NMSQT is 2 hours 55 minutes.  Administration time is in addition to the testing time.

Supplies to bring:  Bring two or three No. 2 wooden pencils.  Mechanical pencils are not allowed.  You may also bring an acceptable calculator.  You can bring a backup calculator and batteries as well.  With that said, all questions can be answered without a calculator.  Also, bring a water bottle and your own snack if you want.  Grab-n-go snacks will be available:  Nature Valley Chewy Chocolate Chunk granola bars, apples and cheese sticks.  

Prohibited devices:  Phones will need to be turned off and left in backpacks which cannot be accessed until the exam is over.  Students may wear a regular type watch with NO alarm.  Smartwatches of any kind are prohibited.  Mechanical pencils are not allowed.

Bubble sheet schools of thought:  There are different schools of thought on this and it is up to you which one to use.  One is to transfer every answer one at a time to your answer sheet.  The other is to avoid going back and forth from your booklet to your answer sheet on every question.  Rather, complete a section and then transfer your answers to the bubble sheet.  This method is said to be beneficial because it will not interrupt your flow and concentration and will also help to make sure you enter your answers correctly by avoiding jumping back and forth.  However, if you decide to use this method, just make sure you leave enough time to transfer your answers to your bubble sheet.

Guessing:  There is no penalty for guessing or blank responses.  This is known as "rights-only scoring".

Student guide:  Once you register for the exam stop by Mrs. Bafus' office to get your student guide.  Reading this will help you understand how each category of the test is presented and will tell you what to expect.  The sections of the test are evidence-based reading and writing, writing and language, and math.

Khan Academy.com:  Khan Academy has a phone app and online resources to study for the P/SAT. They have practice tests, diagnostics, and instruction. After creating your College Board account you can link it and Khan Academy.  Khan will use your PSAT scores and run your diagnostics report so you can work on areas you need the most.

Test day:  Be sure you are fueled up and well-rested the morning of the test.  

Scores:  College Board will post scores to students' College Board accounts. Create your account and you will receive a notification when your scores arrive.

Growth mindset:
  Disappointment happens to everyone, and while we may feel like the world comes crashing down
when we fail, you may be surprised at how much you learn and grow from each challenging experience (Khan Academy).