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About PSAT

PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) is a standardized test given by the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It was designed to help high school sophomores and juniors practice for their upcoming SAT test. There are other benefits to students including scholarship possibilities and a service provided by the PSAT test which will allow interested colleges and universities to contact prospective applicants.

If you are a National Merit finalist (or sometimes even a semi-finalist or commended student), many corporations use this honor to award their own scholarships. Hundreds of colleges guarantee additional Merit Scholarships to National Merit finalists.

Many colleges, in an effort to attract the best students and boost their reputations, offer significant institutional grants (sometimes even free tuition) to National Merit finalists. National Merit finalists are aggressively recruited by colleges.

The PSAT is quite similar to the SAT, so the exam will give you a good indication of your level of preparedness for the SAT. If you do poorly on the PSAT, this is a sign that you need to do some meaningful preparation before taking the SAT.

In the winter after you take the PSAT, colleges will probably begin sending unsolicited mail to you. While much of this mail may end up in the recycling bin, it's useful for seeing how different colleges try to distinguish themselves. The college brochures also give you useful information for figuring out which types of schools are of most interest to you, and which schools are most interested in you.

To reiterate the financial picture -- the combination of a National Merit Scholarship, corporate scholarships, college scholarships, and college grants can add up to tens of thousands of dollars.

There are three sections on the PSAT: Writing Skills, Critical Reading, and Math. Each section is scored from 20 to 80, meaning the highest possible score is a 240. Students have two hours and ten minutes to complete the entire test.

For most students, the PSAT is the really important test, and there is a lot of scholarship money riding on it, too, as well as chances of being admitted to elite colleges.

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