# SAT versus PSAT: What You Need to Know

The SAT and the PSAT are at the root of the same test, but with different purposes. The PSAT is the practice SAT and is completed in the months leading up to the SAT exam preparation.

While both tests will be taken, the results will be used for very different purposes, and there is time between them to improve the score for the final SAT.

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## PSAT

The Preliminary SAT is a preparation exam to get ready for writing the SAT exam. It may also be referred to as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, as it determines who qualifies for the merit scholarship program.

Taken the junior year of high school, the 1% with the top marks will be entered into the competition.

This exam does not affect your college admission or the decision-making process for which schools you would qualify.

The scoring for the two exams is different, in that the PSAT score is a scale from 320 to 1520, while the SAT is 400-1600, and this difference translates into different scores for each section as well.

As the test is taken in an earlier grade it is created to be easier than the SAT, and the scoring is intended to reflect the score you would achieve on the SAT if you did nothing further to prepare for it.

PSAT exams are shorter than the official SAT, though the only questions that offer an increased amount of time to complete are the math questions completed without a calculator.

Additionally, the PSAT does not include an essay portion at all, so it is not possible to prepare for that section in the SAT in the prep test.

When booking your exam it is important to note there are differences in the process of the test, when they are offered, and where they are given. The PSAT is only provided within schools and can not be booked in other locations, and often the school itself will pay the cost of the test without charging it to the students.

This test is available once each year and it is intended to be taken once for practice, or possibly twice to improve and adapt to the experience, while an SAT can be taken as many times as needed.

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## SAT

An SAT can be booked in either a school or at a testing center and is paid for by the test taker. They are offered multiple times each year, and you can take them as many times as you need to get the score that you want.

As the essay portion is optional it is important to check with your preferred colleges to determine if they require the essay portion to be completed.

Completing the essay portion will add an hour to the length of the exam, but it can increase your chances of being accepted to your top choices.

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