There are many high stakes tests that come around the bend once you reach high school, but the Preliminary SAT isn’t one of them, so why take it? Many students wonder about the benefits of taking this exam—if any exist at all—and might be tempted to forego this exam, diving headfirst into the SAT, but we’ve got a word of caution for you; take the PSAT.
It’s no secret that when students do well in school, there is a reason for this success. There is a strategy, a routine, a support system, a tutoring schedule, and more. It’s important to have a plan for getting into the schools of your choice, and the PSAT should be part of that plan.
“The more I practice, the luckier I get.”—Gary Player, South African professional golfer.
A 1993 study published in Psychology Review concluded that the significant difference between expert performers and “normal” performers across all walks of life was the amount of time they spent deliberately practicing in a specific domain. When it comes to test-taking, the Preliminary SAT gives you a chance to test your knowledge and see where you might measure up on the actual SAT. The results you get from the PSAT will identify your strengths and weaknesses, and give you clear direction on where to focus your practice time. If you need tutoring, you’ll know it by now, and you’ll know exactly which subjects require your greatest attention. It is important to note that the quality of your practice—the difference between being guided versus winging it on your own—matters just as much as how often you practice. Want to increase your chances of succeeding on the SAT? Take the preliminary test.
Remember when we said that the PSAT should be part of your strategy for getting into the schools of your choice? Here’s why; when you take the PSAT you can opt-in to the College Board’s free Student Search Service. This service allows colleges and universities to preview the next influx of student graduating from high school by looking up their intended majors, grade point averages, states of residency, and more. They will begin to send various marketing materials and information on upcoming campus tours to the students who have opted into the search service. Position yourself to get the information you need, take the PSAT and opt-in to the database.
According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, students who take the PSAT can participate in the National Merit® Scholarship Program. High scorers on the PSAT can essentially get a head start on accumulating scholarship money for school just by performing exceptionally well on the test. As we noted before, luck favors the prepared, so if you’re not getting tutoring or test training, consider the highly experienced tutors at Bridging Gap, or a local educator who knows how to guide you through these tests. The cost of education continues to rise year after year, so if there is even a slim shot that the PSAT will result in extra money for college, you should go for it.
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