College Plan Timeline:


You must take the PSAT/NMSQT in your third year of high school to be eligible for National Merit recognition.

Register for the PSAT-NMSQT tests to plan your SAT studying and get funds for college.

You’ve probably heard it already:

“Your junior year is the most important year for academics and college preparedness.”

But just because you’ve heard it many times before, doesn’t make it less true.

Your first step to a successful junior year is to register for and take the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.) While this acronym sounds intimidating, the test basically serves two functions:

  1. It helps you prepare for the SAT (which you were probably going to do anyway.)

  2. Your score is used for entry into a number of scholarship competitions, most notably the National Merit Scholarships.

Why not kill two birds with one test?

Test dates for the PSAT/NMSQT are in October and the 2014 test dates are October 15 and October 18. Unlike the SAT, you register for the PSAT/NMSQT through your high school and take it in a high school classroom. No need to sign up online, just find your school counselor or principal and ask for registration materials.

There’s no real reason not to take the PSAT/NMSQT. Not only does it give you a sense of what you’d score on the SAT if you took it today, but it also looks great on your academic resume AND it can help get you free money for college.

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Related Tools and Checklists

High School Junior Timeline and Checklist
High School Senior Timeline and Checklist

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PSAT and PLAN: Register and Take the Tests
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