PSAT Testing

Please view this important message regarding Fall PSAT testing:

Each year, Issaquah High School prepares for the administration of tests designed and managed through the College Board, which include the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT and AP tests.  We continue to track communications from the College Board on its response to COVID-19.  This letter is to provide you with the plans for Issaquah HS administration of testing for the 2020-21 school year.

 

PSAT/NMSQT

Issaquah High School will not administer the fall PSAT, scheduled for October 14th, 2020 to the 10th and 11th grade students.  Instead, Issaquah High School may possibly offer in-person testing for the PSAT/NMSQT in January 2021 if students are allowed to come back into the school building and socially distance appropriately, with adherence to King County Public Health guidance.

 

The College Board has announced that the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) will be offered in January 2021 and this administration will have the same benefits as the October PSAT/NMSQT, including eligibility for programs administered by National Merit Scholarship Corporation. 

 

We normally test 1200 students in 10th and 11th grade and currently do not have the space to appropriately safely social distance the students for the 3-4 hour test on our campus or have the staff to administer the test with several teachers working remotely.  We regret this as we know how important it is for practicing for the SAT and ACT, as well as, for our 11th grade students possibly qualifying for National Merit.  The Office of Superintendent Public Instruction (OSPI) is allowing our school to test a small group of students who received Incompletes last year in English and Math courses.  This is the only group being allowed to test in order to try to regain credits that the students have not completed to try to get back on track and graduate on time. 

Students Who Are Unable to Take the PSAT/NMSQT

 

A student who does not take the PSAT/NMSQT in October 2020 or January 2021 because of illness, an emergency, or other extenuating circumstance (including school closures), but meets all other requirements for NMSC program participation, may still be able to enter the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by submitting scores from an administration of the SAT.  The student or a school official must visit www.nationalmerit.org/resources after the missed PSAT/NMSQT administration to download information about procedures for Alternate Entry to the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program.  To be considered, a student must complete certain requirements before April 1, 2021.

IMPORTANT: Alternate Entry is only for students who do not take the October 2020 PSAT/NMSQT or January 2021 PSAT/NMSQT.  Students who are uncertain about whether they will take the January PSAT/NMSQT are welcome to download and complete Alternate Entry requirements beginning in late October; however, NMSC will not consider a student’s SAT scores for entry to the program if it receives an official PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index score from College Board.

NOTE: The procedure described above for requesting Alternate Entry differs from information that is published in the PSAT/NMSQT Student Guide.  For the 2022 competition only, students and school officials will be able to download Alternate Entry instructions from NMSC’s website instead of submitting an individual written request to NMSC for approval.

Additional Information

For more details about entry to the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program, please refer to the PSAT/NMSQT Student Guide or visit www.nationalmerit.org.

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What is the PSAT?

The PSAT/NMSQT is the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.  It is a standardized test that provides sophomores and juniors with the opportunity to get ready for the official SAT. It also gives junior students a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools. The PSAT is an annual national test, offered in October each year.  There are no make-up dates for this opportunity.

The PSAT is written and scored by the College Board, the same company that writes and scores the SAT, and the testing environment is very similar to the actual SAT environment.  In addition to the physical experience of taking the standardized test, each student receives personalized feedback on each section of the test, and can log into a personalized planning guide based on their test results on www.collegeboard.com. This is a low-stakes testing opportunity – the PSAT scores are not sent to colleges, and are not a part of the college application process for any student. For sophomores, scores are purely for their own self-knowledge. For juniors, the PSAT scores are used as qualifying data for the National Merit Scholarship Competition, but this is the ONLY thing their scores are used for other than their own information.

What are the benefits of taking this test?

Because a college entrance test (SAT or ACT) is a required part of nearly every four year college application process, any student who is considering direct enrollment at a four year college would benefit from participating in the PSAT. Taking the PSAT familiarizes students with the kind of questions, style of directions, and physical environment of a SAT exam, and provides students with a projected SAT score range, excellent personalized feedback and a study plan. This is an incredibly affordable way to prepare for a college entrance exam. For our highest performing students, the PSAT is also the way they can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Competition.

For your tenth grader, this test provides a completely no-stakes opportunity to get acquainted with the standardized testing environment and format. It’s also a great opportunity for students who have difficulties with test-taking situations to prepare, get practice and receive personalized feedback in a safe environment, before taking the real SAT/ACT at the end of their Junior year.

Students who take the PSAT:

  • Receive feedback on their strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study. They can then focus your preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice.
  • See how their performance on an admissions test might compare with that of others applying to college.
  • Can enter the competition for scholarships from NMSC (grade 11).
  • Help prepare for the SAT, and to become familiar with the kinds of questions and directions they will see on the SAT.
  • Receive information from colleges if they check "yes" to Student Search Service.

How can my student prepare for this test?

Students will receive a PSAT Study Guide prior to the test, which will help them learn more about the exam and testing day. This guide provides useful tips, test-taking strategies, practice questions, a full PSAT practice test, etc.

When do we get the results?

Results from this test will be released by College Board home in late January. The results include personalized feedback and a free personalized online SAT study resources. Learn more from at The College Board PSAT information page about how to interpret your PSAT scores, how to access your personalized SAT study plan, and other tools on College Board to help create your road map to success!