PSAT’s: Is it Worth It?


Onovu Otitigbe-Dangerfield, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The school year has just begun and we are already preparing for a fast approaching test taking season. This one goes out to all the tenth and eleventh graders! The PSAT, also known as the preliminary SAT is a practice test designed to prepare one for the real deal: THE SAT.

In our 2019 school year the test date that has been provided is October 16th, 2019 with alternate dates provided on October 19th and October 30th. It is a test that more than 3.4 million high school students take each year. 

The big question a majority of students ask is whether or not the PSAT is really worth sitting for a 2 hour 45 minute period to take a test that will may not appear on your high school transcript (unless you request for your scores to be displayed) or count towards your college admissions applications.

To understand this, however it is important to note what the PSAT really is:

  • The PSAT is almost identical to the SAT only lacking in an essay portion and a 15 minute shorter time constraint.
  • The only difference in format is the lack of an essay section.
  • The PSAT is scored out of 1520 and juniors who score high enough on a national level earn the opportunity to receive $2,500 in national merit scholarship money.
  • The PSAT is only offered once a year. 
  • There are four parts to the exam which includes: 47 multiple choice based on reading passages in 60 minutes, 44 sentences targeting grammatical  and sentence structure devices in 35 minutes (with reading passages), a 25 minute no calculator section and a 45 minute calculator section with 40 multiple choice and 8 free response.

Although this seems like a lot of work for a seemingly useless exam the rigorous nature of the PSAT allows students to become accustomed to the intensity of the SAT. Furthermore qualifying as semifinalists for the national merit scholarship can definitely boost your resume.

As juniors, we should be concerned with taking the PSAT very seriously. Anyone who shares the desire to score well should invest in some review books (Barrons, Acceleprep or college board itself), and practice where you are weak. Contrary to popular belief the PSAT should not be taken lightly but it’s not worth losing sleep over. Don’t stress, and good luck to all who take the PSAT this year!