PSAT: Everything you Need to Know

This is an example of one of the College Board’s official PSAT banners.


This is an example of one of the College Board’s official PSAT banners.

Imaan Moten, Photojournalist

The PSAT has been a staple standardized test in the school system since 1971 ( This test is in preparation for the SAT, which has become a key element in the high school and college admissions experience and is one of the most stressed academic achievements of a student’s high school career. 


The PSAT is an acronym, and it stands for preliminary scholastic aptitude test. The test is available to be taken by sophomores and juniors and can be taken multiple times. The real SAT test can be taken late junior year and early senior year. 


The test is three hours long and includes 3 sections: Evidence-Based Reading, Writing, and Math ( In addition to helping you study for the real test that is crucial for college admissions, the PSAT also has another really important purpose. Your score on the PSAT is pivotal in getting a chance to be offered the national merit scholarship, which is a high academic accolade and extremely helpful to all students who want to go to college. 


The assessment had experienced some changes last year in response to COVID-19. The biggest one being that they added a new 2nd test date in January which is a never before seen event but it caused test scores to not be available till mid-March ( Apart from this, they allowed things such as longer break times, staggered arrival, and dismissal times.


The PSAT is scored identically to the SAT; it is made up of the combined math, writing, and reading scores that can go up to 1520 points ( The average score on this test is 950 and in order to receive a national merit scholarship, you have to earn above 1320 in most cases. 


When considering what students think of the test, a general concern is that the PSAT is a waste of time, a waste of money, or even completely useless. On the other hand, we also have students like Karissa Berg (10) who believe that “The PSAT is a valuable resource in order to prepare for the SAT”. As for the staff, Mr. Bradford the World History and AP Human Geography teacher say that “Any form of the practice test is the best way to prepare for the real exam.”. For YLHS students, the test will take place on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2021, from 8 am to 12 pm. Sales end on September 27, and the test costs $35 and is only available for sophomores and juniors.