PSAT stands for "Preliminary SAT."

NMSQT (Go ahead, say "Nim Squat". You know you want to!) stands for National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.


The College Board accomplishes two goals with the PSAT:

  1. Gives students a preview of what the SAT will be like.
  2. Screens high-scoring students for qualification for a National Merit Scholarship.


For the NMSQT, only scores from a student's junior year count for the scholarship competition. The "Selection Index" is calculated by doubling the sum of the Reading, Writing and Language, and Math subscores. 

Who takes the PSAT?

The PSAT is given once per year in October to high school students.

  • Freshmen (sometimes)
  • Sophomores (usually)
    • Go ahead and take the test to see how you do.
    • No need to focus on test preparation this year.
  • Juniors
    • You want to prepare this year!
    • Just being a "high-scorer," National Merit Commended or National Merit Semi-Finalist, is a real achievement that colleges are looking for.

When should I begin studying?

With flexible schedules, we can get most students prepared in a short time, as long as the student is willing to put in the preparation time.

Most students will benefit from a longer preparation time, meeting once per week for the seven weeks or so before their test date.

Do I need to register?

  • Public school students typically do not need to register.
    • Freshmen may need to opt in.
    • Some school districts require all students to sign up.
    • Check with your counselor to see what the policy is at your school.
  • If your school is small and doesn't offer the PSAT, click HERE to register your student.
  • If you are homeschooled, click HERE to register your student.



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Important dates for this year's administration of the PSAT/NMSQT:


October 13, 2021

Test administration in most schools

December 2021

PSAT scores released online

January 2022

Paper score reports with personal test booklets mailed to schools

April 2022

Schools are notified of Commended qualifying students and are asked to verify eligibility

Early September 2022

Semi-finalists (top less-than-1%) are notified and given materials to advance in the competition

Late September 2022

Commended students receive notice of their achievement; these students do not advance in the competition

February 2023

Finalists notified of their advancement in the competition

Beginning March 2023

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation begins notifying winners of several types of scholarships