Ever heard of the PSAT? Many homeschoolers haven’t, but its a test that can really benefit your homeschooled high schooler. However, since the PSAT is usually only offered every October, many homeschoolers miss the opportunity. The PSAT is officially called the PSAT/NMSQT or the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. That is definitely a mouthful, but it can mean a lot to a Junior in high school. You see, the PSAT is designed to help students prepare for the SAT. In fact, it’s good to encourage the students to take it as a practice session without feeling that they have to “do well.” The latter part of this test’s name alludes to its secondary purpose. The National Merit Scholarship Program uses this test to qualify students interested in participating in their scholarship programs. Which if you have a minute would definitely be worth looking at.
What Does the PSAT Test?
Though this test will not hurt your student in any way, it can help them. The PSAT is designed to help tenth and eleventh grade students prepare for the SAT/ACT tests. Though students should be encouraged not to worry about doing well, there are some great PSAT practice tests that can put their mind at ease. The PSAT will test these areas:
All of the skills tested by the PSAT are skills that have been learned over the course of many years. This test will not require the recall of details and facts from any current high school courses.
Why Would a Homeschooler Want to Take the PSAT?
The PSAT could benefit a homeschooler greatly. Often homeschoolers with special talents go unrecognized. The PSAT can be a great way for homeschoolers to get the recognition and scholarships for the talents that they have developed. Some of the most common reasons that homeschoolers might take the PSAT include:
Students will prepare for the SAT and will gain prior knowledge of how the SAT is given, the rules for taking the test, and even the types of questions on the test.
Students can receive feedback on their skills development for college readiness. This will enable students to focus on areas that need additional study.
Students can gain insight into how their performance compares to other college appplicants.
Students can enter the National Merit Scholarship Program in Grade 11 by taking this test. Homeschool talents and skills that may often go unnoticed may gain recognition through this program.
Students can also receive information from colleges when they request the student search services
The college board has encouraged local schools to include all homeschoolers in their vicinity in the PSAT testing dates. Homeschoolers should contact the PSAT/NMSQT coordinator at their local high school several months prior to the October test dates. The PSAT website suggests contacting the coordinator as early as June. The only homeschool specific thing students are required to do on test day, is to enter their state’s PSAT home school code in the “school code” section of the test. The PSAT can be a great way for high school students to “get their feet wet” in the world of college entrance tests without fear of having to perform.
Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been an education professor for over 17 years. She is also a pastor’s wife, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 9-15) in a sweet tea sippin’, wrap around porch sittin’, sweet southern Georgia town. Jamie is also a contributing author at Online Education for Kids and MomSCHOOL