From College Board.com:
Prepare for the SAT® and Qualify for Scholarships:
The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) measures the educational skills your child has developed. These include: Critical reading skills, mathematics, problem-solving skills, writing skills
The PSAT/NMSQT is the best preparation for the SAT. Students take the test as juniors to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation's scholarship programs. Students can also benefit from taking the test as 9th and 10th graders because they get personalized feedback on the academic skills needed for college. By taking the test before junior year, your child has more time to develop these skills and to begin the college planning process.
Why Your Child Should Take the PSAT/NMSQT:
In addition to assessing critical academic skills, the PSAT/NMSQT provides an opportunity for your child to: 1. Prepare for the SAT: The test uses similar questions and the same directions. 2. Qualify for scholarships (if your child is a junior). 3.Compare scores with other college-bound students around the country. 4. Forecast SAT scores. 5. Get personalized feedback on skill strengths and weaknesses. 6. Get free information from colleges and scholarship programs through the Student Search Service®. Use " My College Quick Start"™ to plan ahead for college and a career. Preparation:
The PSAT/NMSQT evaluates the academic skills your child has developed over time in school. Therefore, taking challenging academic courses and reading widely are the best ways for your child to get ready. Still, your child can take these steps now, to plan ahead: The PSAT test date for 2011 is Wednesday, October 12. Read the PSAT/NMSQT Official Student Guide on the College Board website (www.collegeboard.com) and take the full-length practice test inside. Students should review the Guide to be sure they understand all the test directions and are familiar with the types of questions asked. They can also get complete answer explanations online for all the questions on the practice test. Prepare for the PSAT/NMSQT online and access test dates, more practice questions and useful tips.
Test Date and Registration:
Your CHAMPS 9th, 10th or 11th grader has the opportunity to take the PSAT/NMSQT in October. Registration information will be sent to you via email in September. Score Report Plus: Scores are reported to schools in December. At that time, your child receives Score Report Plus, which includes not only itemized feedback on test questions but also information about skill strengths and weaknesses.
My College Quick Start:
Students who take the PSAT/NMSQT receive free access My College Quick Start, a personalized college planning tool that complements the Score Report Plus. Your child can use the code provided on the score report, to access: My Online Score Report — an enhanced score report that allows students to review each test question, their answers and the correct answers with answer explanations My SAT Study Plan — a customized SAT study plan based on students' PSAT/NMSQT test performance, highlighting skills for review and practice My Personality — a detailed personality test that helps students learn about themselves and discover majors and careers that fit their strengths and interests My Major & Career Matches — extensive information about majors and careers, including insights about what to expect and what courses to take now My College Matches — a starter list of colleges based on students' home state and indicated choice of major Students can access "My College Quick Start" until they graduate from high school.