As the deadlines for college applications are coming up for many seniors, they are preparing to take or have already taken SAT and ACT which are standardized tests that are required by colleges.
The SAT works in a 1600 points system where english and math each composites 800 points. In contrast, the ACT is out of a total of 36 points, in which the average is calculated from a math, english, and science section. They are both designed to test the student’s knowledge and ability to critically think and logically calculate the given passages and questions. As many can assume, the higher the score, the higher the chance of being admitted. Therefore, the parents and the students put emphasis on receiving the highest score possible. However, despite the fact that a high SAT and ACT grades can help a student get admitted into a better school, the PSAT might have much more significance when it comes to standardized tests.
Many people assume that PSAT is a practice test that prepares students for the real one: SAT; however, by doing so, they are highly undermining the importance of PSAT. Of course, the PSAT can be considered as a practice for the SAT, but the students and the parents should also take in mind that unlike the SAT, the PSAT can only be taken once (in junior year). Moreover, it is one of few tests that can provide national merit scholarships to the students.
A co-director of SAT prep school notes that the students who are the National Merit Finalist have greater impact on the college application than a perfect score SAT or ACT. By having a high PSAT score, students get a chance to be part of the National Merit Finalists, drastically changing their chance of admittance to selective colleges.
Although SAT and ACT has great significance of its own, the PSAT shouldn’t be considered as a “practice” test but rather a real one with a one and only chance. While SAT and ACT don’t compensate the lost of taking the test, PSAT covers the cost for taking the test only if the student pass the threshold. It has great importance of its own and it should not be overlooked.