Is the PSAT Worth It?

Every year, we get questions about the PSAT…Does it count?

If so, when and for what? What is the National Merit Scholarship? If my kid is studying for the SAT, does she need to study for the PSAT? What about if she chose the ACT? Below is our guide to everything PSAT…


What is the National Merit Scholarship and How Do I Enter?

The National Merit Scholarship is an academic competition for college scholarships. To qualify, kids simply need to take the PSAT. 34,000 students will be “Commended Students,” 16,000 will be “Semifinalists,” 15,000 of whom will qualify as “Finalists.” 1,200 students will go onto be “Special Scholarship Recipients” (of corporate sponsors) and 7,500 will go onto win Merit Scholarships. Those Merit Scholarships are comprised of The National Merit Scholarship, corporate sponsorships and college sponsorships.

Semifinalists are only able to become finalists if they complete an application, have a consistently high academic record, write an essay and are endorsed by a school official. Semifinalists must also take the SAT at some point in order to score competitively enough to confirm PSAT performance.

What Are the Cut-Off Scores to Qualify in New York State?

Cut-off scores vary year-to-year (and state-to-state), and the committee looks at index scores, (all of a student’s raw scores multiplies by two). Unsurprisingly, New York’s cut-off is relatively high and was a 221 last year, and since 228 is perfect, your child will need to score near perfectly to qualify.

Questions about the PSAT? Questions about your rising 10th or 11th (or 9th?!) grader’s test preparation plan? We’ve got you covered. Contact us now to get started!