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How do I register for the PSAT?


    The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) is a primer test for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Testing (ACT) standardized tests that many colleges and universities require applicants to take. Typically, students take the PSAT in their sophomore or junior year of high school to prepare for the SAT or ACT.

    The PSAT can greatly help students who want to practice for the SAT or ACT to better understand how these tests work. Because of that, some students take the PSAT twice, once in their sophomore year and again in their junior year.

    While not sent to colleges, the score determines National Merit Scholarship Program awardees. The National Merit Scholarship awards merit-based scholarships to top-performing students.

    How do I register for the PSAT?

    Students register for the PSAT at their high school. Some high schools provide an online registration tool or ask that students sign-up in person. To learn more about signing up for the PSAT, including information about test dates and locations, reach out to the administrative office at your high school. You'll want to start the registration process at least four months before the test date, which's generally in mid-October.

    Common questions about the PSAT

    Can I take the PSAT online?

    No, the PSAT can only be taken in person at the location designated when you sign up. There's not currently an online version or any plans to bring the test online.

    What do I need for the PSAT?

    Beyond preparing for the test via studying, there're a few things you'll want to bring on test day.

    Here's a list of what you need for the PSAT:

    • A photo ID. Either your driver's license, passport, or school ID
    • No. 2 pencils with erasers
    • An approved calculator and extra batteries

    You don't need much with you for the exam. It's advisable to bring as little as possible into the test room with you, as there're many rules about what is and isn't allowed. Check with your school administrator if you have any questions.

    How much does the PSAT cost?

    The PSAT costs $18. However, some school districts offer the test for free. If your school doesn't provide a free test, you can apply to have the fee waived with a fee waiver application. To learn more about fee waivers, visit the school counselor at your high school.

    When can I take the PSAT?

    The PSAT offers three different test dates throughout October, and test dates in the spring for sophomores only. The exact dates change yearly, so make sure to check in advance to add the correct dates to your calendar.

    Can I register late for the PSAT?

    Whether or not you can register late for the PSAT depends on a few factors. Some schools offer alternative test dates allowing late registrants to take the exam. If they offer an alternative test date, the school has likely planned to order additional testing materials.

    Unfortunately, schools can't order more test materials after the mid-September cutoff date. You can only register late if your school has enough materials to add you to another test date. The best way to find out if your school offers late registration is to speak to a counselor at your school.

    Final thoughts

    Your performance on the PSAT won't impact your ability to get into college, but it serves as good preparation for the SAT or ACT. It could also lead you to qualify for National Merit Scholarship awards.