Why take the PSAT?
1. You can get a good sense of your future SAT score for minimal risk ($17 and a few hours of testing on a school day). The results could give you insight on what you could expect to get on the SAT today. It will also show you where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
2. You can target areas you need to practice for the SAT. Like the SAT, the PSAT tests break down your score into a variety of sub-scores, such as Words in Context, Command of Evidence, and Passport to Advanced Math. You can learn more about PSAT scoring here. Seeing how you rank in these different categories—during a low-stakes test—can show you where to focus your attention before the actual SAT rolls around. The College Board claims that just twenty hours of practice can raise your score an average of 115 points from the PSAT to the SAT.
3. Maximizing your PSAT score has benefits. As we mentioned above, the PSAT is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test for Juniors. Its results are used to assign each student a Selection Index score. This is the result of taking the sum of the Math, Reading, and Writing and Language scores, then multiplying the result by two. Each section is scored from 8–38, so the doubled sum of the sections will range from 48–228.
A select few students who receive exceptionally high Selection Index scores will receive National Merit recognition as Semifinalists or Finalists, and even fewer will get National Merit scholarships. Before you think, “Sweet! Free money!” you should know that less than one percent of all test-takers get these scholarships. That being said, many schools and corporations offer additional scholarships to students who receive high scores on the PSAT.
*Resource The Princeton Review "Why you should take the PSAT"