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College Board

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About the Test

Help your students succeed in high school and prepare for college with the PSAT/NMSQT

The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), cosponsored by the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, is an important first step toward college. Test results and their accompanying analysis are valuable tools that can help prepare students for the SAT® and education opportunities beyond high school.

Each year, more than 3.5 million high school juniors, sophomores, and younger students take the PSAT/NMSQT to:

  • Prepare for the SAT
  • Enter competitions for scholarships (for more information, go to Scholarship and Recognition Programs)
  • Receive information from colleges: (for more information, go to Student Search Service®)
  • Begin college and career planning
  • Help assess academic skills necessary for college-level work

The PSAT/NMSQT is the qualifying test for National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s scholarship and recognition programs. Test-takers also receive My College QuickStart, a free personalized college planning tool that includes access to MyRoad, the College Board's online majors, college, and career exploration program.

Encourage your younger students to take the test

In 2013, 56 percent of PSAT/NMSQT test-takers were sophomores or younger students. Younger test-takers have more time to develop the skills reported on Score Report Plus that they need to improve to succeed in high school and college. Students who take the test as sophomores need to take it again as juniors to qualify for National Merit scholarship programs.

Learn more about the PSAT/NMSQT by following these links:

  • Overview: Test highlights
  • Test Sections: A look at the critical reading, mathematics, writing skills sections
  • Dates & Fees: Info about when the test is administered, what it costs, and applying for fee waivers
  • College Planning Tools: Three free resources to connect PSAT/NMSQT test-takers to college—My College QuickStart, MyRoad, and Student Search Service
  • Scholarships & Recognition: More about the scholarship and recognition programs students may enter when they take the test
  • Homeschooled Students: About testing homeschooled students in your community with your own students

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