The Importance of Taking the PSAT

October 25, 2021
Written by:
Naomi White

“But I thought homeschool students didn’t need to take the PSAT?” 

If you saw this title and thought those words, you’re right. Homeschool students do not have to take the PSAT, but just because it isn’t required doesn’t mean that taking it isn’t beneficial. We here at want to make sure that you as parents are able to make the best choices for your child’s education, so we want you to have all the facts.

Basic PSAT Information

The PSAT is the preliminary standardized test that high school students can take before taking the SAT or ACT. It is created and administered by the College Board, and it gives your student an idea of what to expect from the SAT. It covers the subjects of reading and mathematics.

You may see three different kinds of tests: the PSAT 8/9, the PSAT/NMSQT, and the PSAT 10. The PSAT 8/9 is less common and is given in 8th and 9th grades to basically expose students to standardized tests. Moving forward, we will focus on the PSAT/NMSQT and the PSAT 10. The PSAT 10 can be taken as a sophomore or junior, but the PSAT/NMSQT is for high school juniors. These two are actually the same test, just given at different times of the year…but there is one big difference in them. “NMSQT” stands for “National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.”

Benefits to Taking the PSAT

In addition to both versions of the test being great practice for the SAT, only the scores of the PSAT/NMSQT are used by the National Merit Scholarship Program to find eligible students. If your child is considering college, this scholarship would be a huge benefit. While there are a limited number of available scholarships, there are perks for students with high scores who may not be chosen. This article is very helpful in explaining the process of becoming a Commended Student, Semifinalist, Finalist, or scholarship recipient.

There are many major colleges that will roll out the red carpet for applicants who have “National Merit Scholar” listed on their application, even if they aren’t a recipient of a scholarship. Read here to see how the University of Central Florida (UCF) reacts to those who are National Merit Semifinalists. If college is in your child’s future plans, studying for and taking the PSAT will be incredibly beneficial.

Registering for the PSAT

You may be wondering how your child can take the PSAT if they are homeschooled. The short answer is to contact your local school to get them registered, but this page will give you all the information you need. The PSAT/NMSQT is given in the fall, while the PSAT 10 is administered in the spring. Remember that to be eligible for the National Merit consideration, the PSAT/NMSQT must be taken in the fall of your child’s junior year. Good luck!!


Additional Homeschool Resources

PSAT/SAT Vocabulary Prep

Guide to College Admissions

How to Prepare Your Homeschool Graduate for College

Naomi White

Naomi White graduated with her B.S. in Christian Elementary Education and went on to earn her Early Childhood Education certification. She has taught preschool and elementary school in both Christian and public schools. She loves to read and write, is a pastor’s wife and stay-at-home mom, and is eagerly awaiting the day her son is old enough for them to start their own homeschool journey. Originally a Georgia girl, Naomi currently lives in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina with her family.