The Importance of the PSAT For Freshman

Reece Houser, Staff Reporter

RH: What is the PSAT? 

Marnie Smith: PSAT stands for Preliminary SAT or some think of it as Prep SAT

RH: When are the PSAT’s taking place this year? 

Marnie Smith: The test is being administered on Oct. 1

RH: How much does the PSAT’s cost per student?

Marnie Smith: $18

RH: How long does it typically take to finish a PSAT? 

Marnie Smith: The test is generally 2-3 hours

RH: How does the PSAT benefit a student? 

Marnie Smith: When taken as a junior, the PSAT is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). The National Merit Scholarship is $2500 and carries a lot of prestige with it. There are other College Board recognitions that come from that same test when taken as a junior. It also helps prepare students to do better on the SAT which can support a student’s application to certain universities. 

RH: When is the best time to take the PSAT? 

Marnie Smith: Students should ideally take the test as a sophomore and then take it again as a junior

RH:Would you recommend the Freshman to take the PSAT? 

Marnie Smith:While it is not advised that freshmen take the test, it isn’t forbidden either. The benefits are just not as prevalent when taking it as a sophomore or junior

RH:Would starting this type of testing so early actually help the student? 

Marnie Smith:When taken, the test results link to KHAN Academy with specific areas of focus to help a student to test better in the future. A sophomore student can increase their chances of scoring higher on NMSQT by utilizing this service. Juniors who take the PSAT will have the opportunity to increase their score on the SAT taken late in a student’s junior year or early senior year. 

RH: Would you take the PSAT as a freshman if given the opportunity?  

Marnie Smith:I wouldn’t have but there are freshmen that have taken it. 

RH: What would you tell students (freshman) that are on the fence about taking the test? 

Marnie Smith: Wait until your sophomore year. You will get more out of it. 

RH: What would you tell students (freshman) that don’t want to take the test because they don’t know if they want to take the college path?

Marnie Smith: One, it’s ok to wait. Two, you don’t need to take the PSAT just for college. It can help with trade school and scholarships.