We have heard reports that some high schools have canceled their PSAT today (October 11th) due to a technological outage on the College Board’s end, and others are currently delayed by the same. While we hope that these schools will work with the College Board to reschedule for later in the month, we also want to provide families with information on what to do if the PSAT is canceled and not made up, just in case.
Missing the chance to take the PSAT means missing two main opportunities: to take a practice test in the format and scoring style of the SAT, and (for juniors) to potentially qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Competition by scoring in the top 1% in your state. Fortunately, there are ways to accomplish both goals without a formal PSAT taken at school.
For students in 10th grade and below, the PSAT functions purely as a practice test.
Taking a Diagnostic SAT
Taking a practice test in the style of the SAT is very straightforward. The College Board has a Bluebook application that students can download onto their own devices; they have most likely already downloaded for the PSAT, unless they were planning to use a school devices. Students can log into their College Board account and complete a practice test using the application.
The best next step is to also try an ACT, so we can advise you on which test is the best fit for you. Contact us for an ACT diagnostic test. Once you complete it, we offer a planning call to determine a student’s best testing and preparation timeline.
Entering the National Merit Scholarship Competition
Juniors who miss their PSAT for legitimate reasons (such as a technological outage on the part of College Board) are still able to enter the National Merit Scholarship Competition. They need to write to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation by no later than April 1, 2024 to request an alternate method of entry. See this link for details.
In past years, the alternate method of entry has been to take an official SAT in place of the PSAT, but NMSC has taken the details of alternate entry off of their website because too many people abused the process to “buy time” to prepare in past years. Contacting them is the surest way to learn the current procedure.
We realize that this is a very frustrating situation for students and families, and our heart goes out to the students who prepared for this day and had it taken away. Please contact us if you would like to discuss plans for your student moving forward in any way. We will continue to monitor this situation and the entire transition to the Digital SAT, and we will provide you with the most up-to-date information.
If your student has not yet taken the PSAT and is interested in learning more about the new format of the test, you can watch our Digital PSAT Webinar at this link.