Advantages and Disadvantages of Taking the PSAT


Katy Clark

Free SAT practice tests can be found on Khan Academy.

Katy Clark, Page Editor

This year, Amador Valley High School will be holding the PSAT on October 12th for sophomores and October 25th for juniors. The PSAT is designed to help prepare students for the actual SAT and is run by Collegeboard.

“I am taking it, so I can get a feel for what taking the SAT will be like. I am not studying too hard for it or trying to get a great score. It is mostly just for practice, it is literally just a practice SAT,” said Juhi Goyal (‘24).

Collegeboard first launched the test in 1959, 34 years after the start of the SAT. There are many different versions of the PSAT, but Amador Valley will be taking the PSAT/NMSQT. This specific test is used to qualify juniors for National Merit scholarships, however sophomores can not qualify.

This is my first time taking the official PSAT so it’s a starting point for me. But one of my goals for the PSAT is to be able to finish all the problems, said Janaki Rakesh (‘25).

The National Merit scholarship is motivation for many college-bound students to participate in the PSAT. Aside from receiving money for college, receiving the scholarship is prestigious for college applications. However simply qualifying with the PSAT score doesn’t guarantee one the scholarship.

“Students can earn the National Merit Scholarship from the PSAT/NMSQT.  Students cannot earn this scholarship from any PSAT test offered. Less than 5% of test takers receive any commendation from the National Merit program,” said Vice Principal and PSAT Coordinator Athena Duran.

The PSAT is shorter than the SAT and acts as a starting point for many SAT takers. As for studying, Khan Academy has free practice tests for students to study their weak subjects after they get their PSAT score.

“My goal is to study more spaced out rather than procrastinating,” said Rakesh.

After the UCs and CSUs announced that they would not be taking the SAT or ACT in consideration for admissions, many feel that the PSAT is not necessary, especially if they are not applying to private or out of state schools.

“I think in general standardized tests aren’t a good way at all to measure intelligence or a person’s capability to complete tasks. I just don’t think standardized tests are a good way at all to measure intelligence. Most people only take them because they are so important for college admissions,” said Goyal.