PSAT: Is it worth it?
I attended a public high school in Illinois back in the 80s. We took the PSAT in October and then the ACT in April. That was it.
We live in a different world.
Unfortunately, the PSAT has become an unnecessary SAT gimmick that makes them a lot of money.
The PSAT is tied to national merit scholarships but that only applies to the top ½ of the top 1% of students in the country. That’s the equivalent of a 34+ on the ACT.
Therefore, the PSAT score does not help 99.5% of the students.
Some students like the extra standardized test practice since it is given during the school day. However, college-bound students tend to take harder classes, especially their junior year, so they need to determine if missing a half day of school is worth it.
Taking the PSAT also does not necessarily replace getting a head start on the ACT, which is going to have a much greater impact on academic scholarships for most students.
If a student has already taken the ACT and achieved a 32 or higher, then I would encourage them to take the PSAT because they may have a shot at becoming a national merit scholar.
If a student has not achieved a 32 or has not taken the ACT yet, then they may want to consider not doing the PSAT, stay in their classes that day, and start preparing for the December ACT test.