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When do students normally take the PSAT?

vandygrad87vandygrad87 Registered User Posts: 737 Member
edited July 2010 in Parents Forum

My daughter is going to a sophomore in high school next year. According to her school's Guidance Counselor, students typically take the PSAT in the first half of their Junior year. That seems awfully late to me. When do your children take their first PSAT? What are the advantages (if any) of waiting til Jr Year? Would you recommend having her take it sooner?

Thank you!
Post edited by vandygrad87 on

Replies to: When do students normally take the PSAT?

  • MaryOCMaryOC Registered User Posts: 517 Member
    My older two took them at the end of sophomore year in HS - as a practice run, and again in the fall of Junior year.
  • rockvillemomrockvillemom Registered User Posts: 6,676 Senior Member
    The PSAT is given by your high school - so you really don't have any options to take it at other times. It is always in mid-October. Some high schools give it 9th, 10th and 11th - some do 10th and 11th - and I guess some do only 11th if that's what your hs does. Keep in mind the PSAT serves 2 functions - it is a practice test for the SAT and it is the qualifying test for National Merit. If you are concerned that your hs only offers it junior year - my suggestion would be to purchase a PSAT or SAT practice book and have her do a few practice tests on your own. You might want to purchase an ACT practice book as well and have her try an ACT practice test as well.

    Most students take the real SAT and ACT during their junior year of hs - and you can also take it in the fall of senior year - although personally - I think it is better if you can have this step done by the end of junior year.
  • PackMomPackMom Registered User Posts: 7,667 Senior Member
    My kids took it 9th,10th,11th grades but only because that's how the school did it and there was no cost to us.
  • lilmomlilmom Registered User Posts: 3,387 Senior Member
    It is also my understanding that, in order to qualify for NM, the PSAT must be taken in the junior yr.
    My S took PSAT as 9th graders through 11th gr. The cost was under $20 if I remember correctly.
  • rockvillemomrockvillemom Registered User Posts: 6,676 Senior Member
    Right - the PSAT taken in October of junior year is used for National Merit. In April of junior year, your student will receive a letter if they made the first cut - this indicates that they are at least a commended student. In September of senior year - another letter - indicating if they made the next cut to be a semi-finalist.
  • dragonmomdragonmom Registered User Posts: 5,632 Senior Member
    From the PSAT website: "The 2010 PSAT/NMSQT test dates are Wednesday, October 13 and Saturday, October 16. You must sign up for the PSAT/NMSQT at your high school or at another high school in your community. This test is administered by high schools, not through test centers. Online registration for the PSAT/NMSQT is not available. Please note that each high school chooses only one October test date."

    If your school is holding on Wednesday and for Juniors only, it may be difficult for your daughter to take a trial run her sophomore year. You could try surrounding schools and see if any of them are offering the Saturday test.
    There would be two good reasons for giving it a try as a sophomore - if you daughter is good at standardized tests and may do well enough as a Junior to qualify for National Merit commended or semi-finalist status, then taking it once ahead of time can be of benefit; or if your daughter has testing problems/anxiety and she needs more familiarity with taking that kind of test under "real" conditions instead of just practice tests at home.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 25,337 Senior Member
    If you know from your child's testing history, that he/she is not likely to score well enough on the PSAT to qualify for National Merit Semi-Finalist status (in most states this will be at least 200 on the junior year exam), and he/she is not one of the minorities served by the National Achievement and National Hispanic scholarship processes that also depend on the PSAT (the cut-off scores are a bit lower), then your child never has to take a PSAT. It is perfectly fine to save your energy, and your child's for the ACT and/or SAT.
  • phbmomphbmom Registered User Posts: 148 Junior Member
    The private school my daughter attends gives the sophomores the PLAN test (a pre-ACT) and the juniors the PSAT on the same Wednesday each fall. I wanted my D to see how she would do on a PSAT as a sophomore, so I contacted a local public school and made arrangements for her to take it there on the Saturday as a sophomore. At first she was on a waiting list; I should have called earlier to find out when registration was. At least a month before the PSAT, the school called to say there was a spot for her. She didn't put in a lot of preparation for it, but the test results gave her a good picture of what she needed to do to improve her scores as a junior.
  • azcpamomazcpamom Registered User Posts: 292 Junior Member
    My S's school makes the PSAT available for 10th and 11th grades. He took it in 10th last year and I found it enormously helpful. The score report shows where they placed among their peers and gives an item by item analysis of scores. It has helped set the agenda for preparing for the high-stakes 11th grade test this October.
  • momreadsmomreads Registered User Posts: 3,231 Senior Member
    My oldest son took it as a sophomore -- for practice. Then, he took it as a junior for National Merit consideration. My youngest son will have a chance to do it this fall as a freshman -- the guidance director told me that he always has extra copies that he pays for.
  • RobDRobD Registered User Posts: 5,061 Senior Member
    For D'10 the HS offered the PLAN for 10th grader, the PSAT as optional for 10th graders, and the PSAT again for 11th graders (when it "counts" for National Merit & she did end up qualifying.

    For D'13, the HS offered the PSAT to them this past year as 9th graders; I'm assuming she'll take both the PLAN and the PSAT as a 10th grader, then the PSAT again "for real" as an 11th grader.

    You are somewhat limited in that you have to work through the individual schools as opposed to registering for a national test date like you do for the ACTs and SATs.
  • megpmommegpmom Registered User Posts: 3,114 Senior Member
    Yep, our school has joined the trend of allowing "advanced" freshman to take the PSAT, then everyone takes it to practice as sophomores and then takes it "for real" as juniors to qualify for National Merit.

    Personally, I was not happy that my S took it as freshman this past year. He scored well, but he is taking that as proof that he doesn't need to work at it sophomore and junior years. He is one of those kids that always settles for "good enough."
  • blueiguanablueiguana Registered User Posts: 7,496 Senior Member
    Our HS gives the PSAT in the fall of the Jr year. Students that are in Pre-AP English 10 (what other schools call Honors English I think) also take it in the fall of their Soph year. The Jr fall SAT was more useful for S2 than the soph, as it identified where he needed to focus his study for the SAT in spring Jr year.

    He is an 'A' English student (not by nature-he does work at it), however the information was presented in a way that wasn't easy for him to decipher. This is not uncommon. He spent a decent amount of time prepping for CR and it paid off. At that point they either know the information or they don't, it's a matter of learning to take the test.
  • entomomentomom Registered User Posts: 23,662 Senior Member
    Take it as a soph for practice and as a jr for the real thing. No disadvantage in taking it soph yr and no advantage in waiting until jr year IMO.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 15,338 Senior Member
    We live in ACT land so all kids take the PLAN (10th) and the state version of the ACT (11th). An ACT prep class is a required junior year class. Because of the scholarship opportunities some sophomores are invited to try the PSAT as a dry run and the school does pay for all juniors who sign up and want to take the Saturday PSAT.
This discussion has been closed.