PSAT/NMSQT® - National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test

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NMSQT® - National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test

What is the PSAT/NMSQT® - National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test and why should I take it?

The Preliminary SAT® will give you a good idea of what you will be facing when taking the SAT's and it's also an entry requirement for the National Merit Scholarship Program. The test includes sections on critical reading, writing, and math problem solving, three sections also found on the SAT. Once you have received your scores back, you will have a good idea of where you will need to concentrate.

When is the PSAT/NMSQT® given and how do I register?

The PSAT/NMSQT® is given in October. While there may be two dates to choose from, each school will give the test on only one date. You can ask at your school or search for schools near you at

You can not register for the PSAT/NMSQT® online, but must register at your high school or at another school in your area, if you prefer.

I missed the NMSQT®, but I would still like to be considered for the National Merit Scholarship. Am I out of luck?

If you meet all the other requirements, it may be possible to qualify. You will need to write the National Merit Scholarship Corporation as soon as possible after the missed exam, but no later than March 1. The earlier you make the request, the more likely you will have the chance to meet the alternate entry requirements.

What awards are available?

Each year about 15,000 students make the finalist rating. Out of these, more than 8,000 will receive a National Merit Scholarship. There are three types of Merit Scholarships awarded. There are the National Merit Scholarships for which all finalists compete. Next are the corporate sponsored awards to those students who may be children of employees, living in a particular area, or planning to concentrate in certain majors. These may be one time or renewable, depending on the sponsor. Finally, there are colleges and universities who sponsor awards to students who have been accepted and plan to attend those schools. These awards are renewable for up to four years.

Additionally, there will be about 700 National Achievement® $2500 Scholarships awarded. Beyond that, there are about 100 corporate sponsors who offer awards to those finalists meeting the individual award requirements. These could include being children of employees, living in a particular area, or planning on concentrating in certain fields of study.

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