The school office will soon be registering rising G10 and select G11 students for the PSAT (Preliminary SAT), which will be administered by the school in mid-October.
The PSAT is a standardized test that provides practice for the SAT, and is also the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship competition. Any G11s that are U.S. citizens and likely to do well on the PSAT should register for the exam because they would then be entered into the National Merit competition for scholarships. Only the scores received during a student's G11 year will be considered for the National Merit Scholarship program. Thus, the PSAT simply serves as practice for students that take it earlier than their junior year. PSAT scores are not used in the college admissions process. Instead, the PSAT score provides feedback about the areas your student needs to work on to improve his/her scores.
Rising G9 students should not take the PSAT. Instead of focusing on test preparation, G9 students should instead focus on developing good time management and study skills, as well as reading regularly in English. Developing these practices so that they become habits will serve students well far beyond college admissions.
For more information about the National Merit Scholarship program: http://www.nationalmerit.org