Are Taking The PSATs Worth It?


Camryn Calvert

Sophomore Emma Erickson studying in the library.

With colleges becoming increasingly competitive and looking at, not only GPA, but also SAT and ACT scores, it can result in one being quite overwhelmed. With the SAT and ACT, practice is available, and it all boils down to whether or not making the choice to take one of these practice tests will be beneficial. The answer is that the tests will be.

The PSAT is scored from 320 to 1520, and your score report will indicate the scores for Math, Reading and Writing and Language. Additionally, you will be able to see how you compare to others who took the test. You will be able to see a percentile for each section and the higher the percentile, the higher the score. For example, a 75% means that you have scored better than 75% of those who took the test.

As for the practice ACT, there are four sections: English, Math, Reading and Science, and each is given a scaled score between 1 and 36. Those scores are then averaged into a composite score, which are between 1 and 36 as well.

Statistically speaking, those who have taken the PSAT previous to the SAT have higher SAT results than those who opt out of taking the practice test. Although senior Naomi Stokes has not taken the real SAT yet, she said that she feels that “you always do better the second time you take the SAT in any form. The score that I got on the PSAT was the score that my college would have wanted, so when I take the real SAT, I will probably score better than that.”

While the PSAT test prepare you for the SAT, it is only a practice test. Therefore, there should be no reason to feel stressed about the situation nor feel worried if you receive a low score. The same goes for the practice ACT; the scores do not count so simply take the opportunity to learn from the errors and improve upon your weaknesses.

As for juniors, the PSAT holds significant bonuses. The National Merit Scholarship awards $2,500 to juniors who score well. Although the exact score varies each year, semifinalists are those who are within the top 1% of the state, and from there, it is possible to become finalists and obtain the scholarship money.

Taking the PSAT or practice ACT is obviously important for being able to attend the university of  one’s choice.