Your PSAT score has finally arrived… Now what?
There are many benefits of taking the PSAT, and it all starts with putting down your email right before you take the test. I have received a plethora of information from numerous colleges, ranging from personality tests, major finders, and general college information.
<Editor’s Note: blogger Emily Zheng is a sophomore at Arcadia High School.>
Many colleges offer free brochures, handbooks, and guides. These brochures and online quizzes are a great way to get to know more about yourself and about different colleges. If you are wondering what major you should do in college, the quizzes give you a quick insight into what you could do and more information about those majors. I have gotten a variety of major suggestions, ranging from Economics to Environmental Science to Public Policy.
The PSAT is also a great way to practice! The answer key tells you what you got wrong, what the correct answer was, and the difficulty level of the question. It also has a general information chart that tells you what area of the test you did particularly well on, and vice versa for the weaker aspects. Using that information, you can spend your time studying for that portion of the test. For example, if most of the questions you missed were grammar questions, you can focus on grammar. If you missed only one or two questions on reading comprehension, you would not need to study reading comprehension as much.
You can also qualify for the National Merit Scholarship, which is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships for high school juniors (11th grade). The Class of 2012 Cutoff scores to qualify ranged from 205 to 223 on the PSAT, which are designated on a state representational basis. A few weeks after taking the PSAT, about 16,000 students are notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists. To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists must advance to Finalist standing by meeting high academic standards and other requirements given to each Semifinalist. In February, around 15,000 Semifinalists are notified by mail at their home addresses that they have advanced to Finalist standing.
There are basically no disadvantages of taking the PSAT. Even though the PSAT is not a requirement for getting into college, it helps you get in touch with a variety of colleges, get practice for the SAT, and may help you qualify for the National Merit Scholarship, which may save you thousands of dollars from your college tuition. If you are eligible to take the PSAT next year, do so! Don’t pass such a great opportunity to practice… It only comes two or three times in your high school career!