Take PSAT in Sophomore or Junior year?

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: May 2003 Archive: Take PSAT in Sophomore or Junior year?
By Tigeruppercut (Tigeruppercut) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 09:40 pm: Edit

i am currently a freshman... i bought some very good prep books (kaplan and barrons) and decided to study for the PSAT from now, over summer, until the test is administered in October. my goal is to get a score among the top percentile in order to get scholarships. Is this a wise decision? or should i take it in my junior year along with the SAT and other tests?

and....is there a limited number of spots for the test? will my college reserve space for the juniors over the sophomores?


By Andrew123s (Andrew123s) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 09:47 pm: Edit

You can not get a NM Scholarship as a sophmore as far as I know.

By Asdf_1_3 (Asdf_1_3) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 09:52 pm: Edit

National Merits scholarships and all other scholarhips are open only to juniors.

By Number9 (Number9) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 09:54 pm: Edit

yeah, no one I knew that scored in the percentile as a soph. or frosh got anything, only juniors.

My advice: take it soph year, get a feeling for the test, and then take it junior year when it really counts.

By Bkwrm98 (Bkwrm98) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 10:02 pm: Edit

Take it both years. There's no limit for spots I think. But you can't get a scholarship unless you skip a year of high school (it's supposed to be your second-to-last year of high school when you take the PSAT to count)

By Erika (Erika) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 11:29 pm: Edit

Well if you take it both years, you will be eligible for the scholarships your junior year.

What kind of sucks is that you will only be able to put the Semi-Finalist status on your college resume, you don't find out if you've won the scholarship until you've probably already decided what college you'll be going to...

By Tigeruppercut (Tigeruppercut) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 11:37 pm: Edit

wow, thanks a lot
i'm probably going to take it both years; taking it as a prep in soph then again in the junior year.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 11:46 pm: Edit

For any middle school kids (or parents) reading this thread, take the PSAT as practice freshman year as well. The D's high school encourages both freshman and sophomores to take the test though it is by no means required.

By Medusa2003 (Medusa2003) on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 12:05 am: Edit

Although only the junior year PSAT counts for qualifying for national merit semi-finalist status, there are many advantages to taking it in sophomore year or even freshman year. 1) Gaining familiarity with the test format in a "real" environment, 2) determining if additional preparation is necessary for the test that counts in junior year ( daughter got a 230 in sophomore year so she was very relaxed taking it in junior year and got a 236 with no study, review, or memorizing word lists ), 3) lots of early college mail - our daughter received hundreds of college brochures after taking the PSAT in her sophomore year which gave her time to read them at her leisure a year before she actually needed to decide where to apply.

By Jenniferpa (Jenniferpa) on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 06:35 am: Edit

Be aware, though, that as the SAT is changing its format in March 2005, the PSAT format will also be changing in 2004. Thus the PSAT taken this year will NOT match the format of the PSAT taken in 2003.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 11:31 am: Edit

Very well said, TheDad.

I wish someone would have told me to take the PSAT earlier, or know about this board.

Our school did not offer any kind of preparation and the fact of NOT being familiar with the tests and the strategies hurt a lot.

Jenniferpa, you are indeed correct about the cahnges but the changes will be subtle for the PSAT and your preparation to the old or new test should not be that different.

The "material" covered on the tests is almost irrelevant, it is the format and spirit of the test that one must master.

By Jenniferpa (Jenniferpa) on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 11:52 am: Edit

Very true, as long as you don't spend a great deal of time on analogies. I wonder when the prep book industry will start bringing out new versions.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 12:53 pm: Edit

Actually, looking at the college boards own information, one BIG change will be the scored writing section. This is something totally new and I think it will be harder to "prep" for an essay section than the multiple choice questions. The college board is already hiring "readers" to grade the essays which will be given a score from 1-6. Sounds like the score for the writing section will be reported as a separate score from the "reading" section. Sounds like the best prep will be to do as much writing as much as possible in high school, something many schools sorely need to work on.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 01:34 pm: Edit


I believe that the prep companies will start publishing books by the end of this year. By then everything will be clearer. Regarding the analogies, just be aware that ETS/CB will probably find a way to bury them in the critical reading questions (via the vocabulary questions). However, the importance of the analogies will be greatly diminished.


You are indeed correct about the new section. That is a big change. Hopefully, it will along the same lines as existing tests for AP English or SAT2. I believe that the essay section will make it more difficult for young testers to get very high scores and a bit easier for juniors/seniors who are spending more time on essays.

The good news (for me) is that I will be finished with SAT in a few months. I am following this subject since my sister is entering High School this fall.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 02:48 pm: Edit

Xiggi, you are so correct that it would have been nice to have this resource earlier. I would suggest that parents of elementary school kids dip in here just once or twice to get a feel for how things are with respect to college admissions and then *seriously* start checking in a couple of times a year beginning in middle school. You don't have to become obsessive until junior year. :)

By Number9 (Number9) on Monday, May 05, 2003 - 02:57 pm: Edit

so next year it will be a new test I have to take?

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 10:49 am: Edit

Number 9 - the new tests start in 2005.
Xiggi - yes, I will be curious to see how the writing section works out. In our local school district, the emphasis on writing essays has been cut dramatically - students are more likely to be assigned "power point" presentations than essays in many classes so it will be interesting to see if schools have to - or will - adjust.
The Dad - had a good laugh at that statement about not getting obsessive until junior year.

By Jenniferpa (Jenniferpa) on Tuesday, May 06, 2003 - 11:50 am: Edit

Well the new SAT is 2005 but the new PSAT is October 2004.

By Marie3 (Marie3) on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 01:57 pm: Edit

I am currently a freshman and plan on taking the PSAT in three weeks for practice. I know that colleges won't see the results unless I want them to (right?) but I know the National Merit people will have access. If I were to bomb this year and do superbly junior year would the NatMerit board look back and check and take the bomb score into account? PARANOIA

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