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Don't go into the SAT cold

What is the PSAT and how is it used in the college admission process?
The PSAT is the Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test and is available for high
school students to take in October of their 10th and/or 11th grade years. Basically, it
is a mini-version of the SAT I (Scholastic Achievement Test). It consists of four 30
minute sections alternating between verbal and math. It provides a trial run for
students prior to taking the SAT I test as they approach the college selection process.
Scores from the PSAT are not used by colleges and universities in their selection of
students for admission. Only the 11th grade PSAT relates in any way to college
admission, since the results of that test are used to determine eligibility for National
Merit Scholarships. As a result, it is also referred to as the NMSQT or National Merit
Scholarship Qualifying Test. Registration for the test and pamphlets describing the
details of the PSAT program are normally available in high school guidance offices.

What standardized tests will I be required to take for college admission?
Students need to be aware that many colleges and universities give applicants the
option of reporting scores from either of two testing programs, the ACT or the SAT.
However, applicants need to be aware that some institutions may require or have a
stated preference for one test or the other. Following are brief descriptions of each
program. Bulletins describing the programs more completely are normally available in
high school guidance offices.  
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ACT (American College Testing) Program: The test consists of four parts; English,
Math, Reading Comprehension and Science Reasoning.

SAT I (Scholastic Achievement Test): Use of a calculator is permitted, although it
is not required. The test consists of two parts - Verbal and Math.

SAT II (Subject Tests): These are one-hour tests in specific subject areas.
Pamphlets and materials describing each test are available in high school guidance
offices Students may take one, two, or three tests on a registered test date. Note,
however, you may not take SAT I and SAT II tests on the same test date.

Recommendations:  Take the PSAT at least once - in the 11th grade. If you have a
history of testing well, you may qualify for a National Merit Scholarship. Trial runs will
help you will develop testing skills and self confidence. You should attempt to develop
a strong testing profile. Since many institutions will give you the option of reporting
scores from either or both testing programs, you should take both the ACT and SAT I
at least once. Take SAT II (Subject Tests) when appropriate and as soon as possible.
Try to take the tests as soon as you finish a course in that subject, while the material
is fresh in your mind.   
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