When should students take the PSAT?

    The PSAT is designed to be taken in the fall of Junior Year.  It is usually the second Saturday of the month. Students who are interested in qualifying for the National Merit Scholarship program may only qualify if they take the exam in their junior year.

    Should sophomores take the PSAT?

    If you are in Geometry-Honors or Advanced Algebra this year, you may want to take this practice exam. 

    Sophomores often feel compelled to take the practice exams; however, I do not advocate this unless they are currently enrolled in Advanced Algebra or a higher level math course.  Oftentimes, testing too early increases anxiety and results in less than ideal results, especially if the student has not covered the material in class that they are expected to know on the exam.  Families of sophomores should make decisions based on math placement and student comfort with testing.  There is plenty of time in junior year for practice and real exams.
    If you are feeling compelled to take the exam, consider the $15 exam offered through the College and Career Center.  It is a full length practice, costs less, and the results arrive in a more timely manner than those of the national test (within about two weeks as opposed to two months).  Then you can take the $25 you save and get a pizza and see a movie!

    Has my student registered for the PSAT? 

    Only you will know this, as you will have either paid for the PSAT through the Drake store or paid Lisa Neumaier for one of her practice exams.

    How long does the exam last?

    Approximately 3-1/2 hours. 
    What should my student bring to the exam? 
    On exam day, all students must bring:    **  School ID   **  Two #2 pencils  ** Calculator  **

    Are there alternative dates to take the PSAT?

    The PSAT is a national exam given one day per year.  The date is set by the College Board.  There is only one opportunity to take the exam which provides National Merit opportunities.  Our college/career specialist does administer unofficial practice exams throughout the year and your student can learn about those dates and details in the Drake News.

    Do colleges look at the PSAT scores?

    No, they do not.  The P in PSAT stands for “preliminary” which allows students the opportunity to gauge their ability on this test without worry that their scores will be judged. 

    When do the PSAT scores arrive at Drake?

    They are mailed to us in late December or early January.  An announcement about their arrival is posted in Pirate Mail and Bulletin.  Students are encouraged to pick them up in counseling and speak directly with their counselor if they have any questions.

    What if I don’t take the PSAT junior year?  Am I at a disadvantage when applying for college?

    Juniors are encouraged to take this exam for practice, but are not at any disadvantage if they miss is.  They can use study guides, on-line practice at www.collegeboard.org and a variety of other resources in the college center to prepare for the exam.  College Board says that the best practice for the SAT is to take rigorous academic coursework in high school and read widely. 

    What if I have a question that isn’t answered here?

    Then, by all means, please e-mail your student's counselor or Lisa Neumaier directly.     Thanks



    Last updated by Sheila R Souder, on 09/17/2018