Is it necessary for juniors to take the PSAT?
Well no, not necessary. But it’s a good idea for several reasons.
First, colleges are willing to look at PSAT scores and give them weight when they’re beginning to sort out admissions. So not only is it worth taking the PSAT for this reason, it’s actually worth preparing for it. The PSAT is essentially an abbreviated version of the SAT, which means that anyone who takes the time to learn how to take the PSAT will have a head start on learning the SAT when it’s time to get ready for that.
And that brings us to the second point. Since the PSAT is just a dry run, it doesn’t really matter how a student scores. It’s basically a risk-free way to find out what the real test looks like.
Which is hugely important.
Anyone who thinks that standardized tests are a simple measure of how much a student knows from high school classes is in for a big surprise. These tests speak a language of their own, and the ones who have taken the time to learn that language are at an advantage. They will not only move more quickly through the test, but they will fall into fewer traps.
And even students who plan on taking the ACT, the PSAT is still useful. Standardized tests share a lot of similarities. So, while prepping for the SAT isn’t perfect training for the ACT, it’s still a major help.
And there is also the possibility that a student will be able to use the PSAT to get an idea of which test he or she wants to take. Anyone who feels very comfortable with the PSAT is probably a good candidate for the SAT.
On the other hand, every student should have a look at both tests. There are significant differences between the two, and picking the right test can mean a significant difference in scores.