10 months ago
Admissions Advice

Should I take the Sat before the Past this year?

The Psat was moved to the 26th of January 2021, but If I want to take the Sat in december I need to pay before November 5th. If I do great in the Psat I could win the National Merit Scholarship, but I haven't taken any Psat. Should I take the SAT as practice, take the Psat and maybe win the National Merit Scholarship and then retake the SAT. Because I need a scholarship but I also know that the National Merit Scholarship is also wayyy too hard to win.


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Accepted Answer
10 months ago

I do not necessarily believe taking the SAT is best practice test for the PSAT. In my own experience, while the tests are simillar they are not exactly the same. I scored 100 pts higher on my real SAT than I did on the PSAT even though they were taken 6 weeks apart. I thought I could get a super high PSAT score but there are a lot of factors that change the outcome on test day, not just your past real or practice SAT scores. Besides myself, other peers have had the same experience of getting highter SAT scores and lower PSAT equivalents. I'm aware that there is an 80 pt difference at the top end score of 1520 vs 1600 so I'm just talking about the percentiles. Also I have friend that got super high PSAT scores and lower real SAT scores as well. In conclusion, do not assume taking a real SAT will bump your PSAT score up. It is better to study for the PSAT hard and get the highest PSAT score you can. And there are good resources like Kahn Academy, books, videos etc that you can grind on to get there.

Also, if you need money for college because of your families financial situation, the CollegeBoard National Merit Awards are not very much at $2500 which is like 3% of 1 year's college cost. The only bump is that certain colleges like USC will reward you with a 50% tuition grant if you are a National Merit Finalist so that is worth about $29,000 per year. But there are very few Top 25 colleges that do that. Most of the T50 colleges are need blind and meet 100% of your families financial needs for paying for college. Therefore financial aid is readily avilable to most students if their family income is less than $100,000. At some Ivy league schools, they will still give you some financial aid all the way up to $200,000 or $250,000 so research financial aid more, perhaps next summer so you know where to apply. You will conclude that many top college consider all their applicants super smart, so they do not award MERIT scholarships. 95% of aid is need based scholarships.

If you are very low income, I recommend that you apply for some community based scholarship organizations like Posse, or Questbridge that serve high achieving low income students. There are different academic cutoffs that you can look up yourself.

If you decide to take the SAT, go for it and just keep in mind that it's not a 1 to 1 replacement for the PSAT and you should study for the PSAT separately.

Good Luck


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