How important is PSAT?

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  1. My duaghter needs to decide if she should take an additiona AP science class in her sophomore year, or should she focus on preparing her PSAT.

    We are in California, but I am not educated in the U.S. so I am not familiar with the U.S. education system. I heard if your PSAT receives Merits, it will be a BIG PLUS when you apply to colleges. Someone evey said PSAT is more important than SAT. :wtf::confused1:

    Please tell me how important PSAT is? Is it really that critical? If you receive merits or award, how much benefit you will get when apply to college?


    p.s. To Mod: I am not sure if this question fits into the General Discussion catatory. This is more an academic question rather than parenting, I guess. Please move it if I posted it in the wrong place. Thanks!
  2. I do think it applies to merits but there is more to being a merit scholar than PSAT. Your SAT score goes to your colleges when you apply, or you can take ACT depending where you're applying. I do not think the PSAT is more important than the SAT considering it doesn't go on your college application.

    Edit - Merit scholars are very limited and I know in my highschool (classes of 250-300) average only 2-3 students where merit scholars every class. We did have on class go through where there was 13. Some went to Ivy League and some went to schools like OSU (big ten). Both great schools, it really depends what your daughter wants.
  3. I've never heard of the PSAT being more important that the SAT. The PSAT is a practice SAT, so from what I understand, it doesn't even "count".
    As far as an additional AP science, that would probably be more beneficial as a passed AP class will count as a college class, and she won't need to take it at University.
    The thing about the SAT, also, is that you can take it as many times as you wish, so if she doesn't do well, she can just take it again.
    One last thing, she's a sophomore..make sure you're not putting too much pressure on her. I hate the idea that a lot of kids miss out on childhood cause they're trying to make the best grades and taking the hardest classes. Life's about being happy, not getting the most respected job or making the most money.

  4. not sure if it still works like this since I went to high school over 10 years ago, but...

    your PSAT score is what determines if you are a National Merit Scholar, which was super important in my high school and therefore super important for college admissions. I went to a really competitive school where everyone was applying to ivy league and equally selective schools, so being a National Merit finalist or even semi-finalist or honorable mention (I don't really remember the rankings anymore) was an important distinction.

    probably the best person to ask is your child's guidance counselor. they will be able to advise you on what the other children at the school who are on the same track (same type of classes) normally do.
  5. honestly, PSATs didn't matter much and weren't even very helpful. i definitely wouldn't consider it more important than SATs.
  6. I wouldn't say it's important lol... I say go for the AP class! I don't believe tests like ACT/SAT/etc should be "prepared for"... you just go and take them. Besides, she can get college credit for her AP class and that saves time and money in college and allows her to register earlier because if she passes she will have additional credits and will be ahead in her courses.

    I started college with 9 credits from AP courses and then received 12 credits retroactively after taking a spanish class I tested into (I don't feel like AP language tests are the best method; most schools seem to offer a retrocredit program which will get you many more credits) and I was able to register with the grade level above me and always get into the classes I needed at the times I wanted! Highly recommended!
  7. It's not really important at all, imo.

    The only thing it counts towards that I can remember is the National Merit Scholarship. I did very well on my PSAT so I was a National Merit finalist, and many schools will award you extra scholarship money if you become a finalist. Some schools only award a little bit, some give you all kinds of incentives. I received a lot of letters and packages from some schools that actively recruit NM finalists as a result - the University of Oklahoma and University of Florida in particular. They offered lots of incentives - delayed application deadline (UF actually said "there is no application deadline for NM finalists"), several thousand dollars per semester, Oklahoma offered me a stipend to buy a laptop for school.

    So if your daughter has some schools on her list that actively recruit National Merit finalists, it would probably help her out a lot to do well. Some schools give you very little for it - UGA gave me $500/semester. If that's not a concern, then the PSAT really doesn't matter. I don't think ANY of the colleges I applied to even mentioned the PSAT on their applications, and the SAT is without a doubt much more important. Whoever told you the PSAT is more important is, to be blunt, smoking crack.
  8. I went to a competitive high school and while I bet national merit would help, I did not receive any national merit honors or mentions and still was able to get into a very good college (ivy league). Focus on the SAT, which definitely matters for colleges, and grades. I would say she should take the AP if she is ready for that as it shows she is at a high level of courses, and score well both in the class and on the AP exam. Most colleges offer credit for 4s and 5s, although some only offer for 5s (mine only offered for 5s).
  9. AP science > PSAT. Aside from what amanda pointed out, no one cared about the PSAT in my own school & I can't really think of others who would that much, lol.

    Think of it this way: taking an AP in her sophomore year can make more time for her to study for the actual SATs later on. Plus, she can get college credit should she pass.... that saves YOU a lot of money too!
  10. Definitely AP class > PSAT.

    I took the AP English exam and was able to not have to take it in college. Well worth saving the money and the time since I had to take business English in addition to regular English as a pre-req for my major.
  11. ^^ 100% agree!!

    I can't even remember taking the PSAT... I believe it's only important because it shows you how you have to get your butt out of bed and be on time for a standardized test, imho.

    But I definitely remember the feeling of extreme happiness when I went to college with 12 credits already because of AP/College level courses I took in high school. The rest of my friends were taking History, English and Science exams, and I was so glad to be able to sit out of the first levels in college.
  12. I agree with the others, the PSAT isn't too important. Its to prepare you for the actual SATs and that is what colleges look at. It might be beneficial to have your daughter take it just so she gets used to the timing and the wording of questions, but I wouldn't necessary study for it. A lot of my friends never even bothered taking the PSAT and just took the SAT their junior year.

    As for AP classes, definitely make that a priority over the PSATs. Having a high AP score will help your daughter earn college credit and possibly allow her to skip some of the introductory science classes in college. A high AP score can also help save tuition money!
  13. I was a National Merit finalist, which was based on my PSAT score. Amanda's experience was much like my own. I got accepted to the schools I applied to and got some (but limited) scholarship funds offered due to the National Merit distinction.

    I took AP science and was a National Merit finalist. I'm not sure how much time you've been told your daughter should study for the PSAT, but I think I did two or three prep evenings, and nothing more. I'd think she should take the AP science course, but also spend the 6-8 weeks leading up to the PSAT taking a prep course/or practicing with sample exams.

    I took a short GMAT prep course prior to my MBA applications, and scored in the 99% percentile on that exam. I think a quick learner can catch the theme of placement exams pretty quickly, and I bet your daughter is a quick learner.
  14. I never took the PSAT and I only took my SAT's once. I got into every school I applied to and received scholarships.
  15. Wow! tPF has so many good students! :nuts::tup: I learned a lot from you all!

    My daughter's school is very competitive and has very high academic standards. Other than AP Physics, she already has AP Calculus and AP Chemistry on her plate. It was her wants to take an additional AP class (Physics) but I think she should focus on getting good grades and preparing PSAT.

    It is good to know that unless she receives top scores on PSAT and is the finalist, PSAT is just a pre-test to SAT. Now, I need to worry if three APs is too much for her since those are very rigorous course at her school.