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Does my child have to prep for PSATs?
Many schools have their Sophomores take the PSAT for practice, just to get their feet wet. The Sophomore year PSAT results mean very little and count for nothing. So no prepping is required or advised for that one.
Most schools advise all their Juniors to take the PSAT for a couple of reasons. First, it IS good practice for the SAT. The October 2023 PSAT will be especially important, as it will be American students' first look at the new digital SAT. Second, the Junior-year PSAT is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test; in other words, it is your student's showing on the Junior-year PSAT that determines his/her eligibility for National Merit recognition. In states such as Massachusetts, New York and Minnesota, which are known for the high quality of their educational systems, it is more difficult to attain National Merit ranking, because that ranking depends on how your student compares to others in his/her own state.
So, should your student prep for the PSAT? If (s)he took the PSAT as a Sophomore and scored 200 or above on the "NMSQT Selection Index", or if your child is in the top ten in his/her class and therefore has a good chance at ranking in the top one-half of one percent, then some prep may just mean the difference between "almost" making National Merit status and getting a Letter of Commendation or even higher, and that just may mean some merit scholarship money, either from the National Merit folks themselves or from the colleges to which these students apply. There is still merit scholarship money out there, and wouldn't it be nice to have some colleges offering money to your child?
CTG is currently developing a PSAT prep program for the new digital P/SAT to be offered to high-ranking Juniors-to-be. The PSAT is given in October, so the summer before Junior year is the best time to undertake PSAT prep. Email us for more information.