College Entrance Exams
ACT vs. SAT
The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a standardized test administered by the College Board and cosponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) in the United States. Approximately 3.5 million students take the PSAT/NMSQT each Octover. The exam is an officially released version of a previously administered SAT exam. The exam is scored from 20-80 for each of the three parts, Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing. It is administered to all Wake County sophomores, and to freshmen and juniors who choose to register for the exam. The PSAT itself has NO bearing on college admissions. So, why take it?
The PSAT/NMSQT assesses reading, math, and writing skills; provides excellent practice for the SAT; and connects students to scholarships and personalized online tools.
Students in 11th grade may be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship program and other programs that use PSAT/NMSQT scores.
The PSAT/NMSQT and the SAT have the same format and evaluate the same skills. PSAT/NMSQT students also get a custom SAT study plan based on their results.
After the test, students receive feedback on how ready they are for college and access to tools that help them improve.
PSAT/NMSQT scores tell students and educators how likely students are to succeed in AP courses and on AP Exams.
Students get free access to My College QuickStartTM. Features include an interactive score report, a personality test, major and career suggestions, and a starter list of colleges.
Students who opt in on test day receive free information about admission and financial aid from colleges, universities, and scholarship programs that are interested in them.
Students who take the PSAT/NMSQT in 10th grade or lower benefit from early feedback on their skills. Students can look at their percentiles to see how well their scores compare to the scores of 10th grade test-takers. Schools that test students at an earlier age have more time to act on PSAT/NMSQT data.
Taking the PSAT/NMSQT again, in 11th grade, gives students a fresh skills assessment and a measure of their progress, as well as the chance to compete for scholarships. And research shows that students in U.S. schools who take the PSAT/NMSQT in 10th and 11th grades score, on average, 189 points higher on the SAT than students who do not.