Homeschooling for High School: PSAT

“What do you recommend?” is a question I get all the time. And my standard response will always be, “It depends on your family lifestyle, learning styles of your students, and your homeschool goals.” As per my Full Disclosure, the following is based on my own personal experiences and will not always produce the same results. I highly recommend you seek your local support group as well to assist you.


In my previous post “Homeschooling for High School: Preparing,” (here) I encouraged parents to begin planning and preparing for High School at the 7th and 8th grades.  College Exams like the PSAT, SAT, AP and CLEP should also be a part of the plan.

October is PSAT Test-taking time.  Although considered the precursor to the SAT, the PSAT is extremely important, and not to be missed.  As it is offered only ONCE A YEAR, this test can easily be missed.  2017 dates are October 11 (Primary) and October 14 (Saturday).

PSAT Options

Taking the PSAT helps to prepare students for taking the SAT.  Although developed in similar manners, the PSAT has been adjusted for grade-level.  In the last couple of years, two (2) additional PSAT options were introduced.

  • PSAT 8/9 – the PSAT 8/9 now has testing dates in the Fall and Spring.

The PSAT 8/9 tests the same skills and knowledge as the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, and PSAT 10—in a way that makes sense for eighth and ninth graders. It measures what they’re already learning, shows them whether they’re on track for college, and lets them know where they need the most improvement. That means students have time to tackle these areas long before they take the SAT.

Source: PSAT 8/9 Educator Overview | SAT Suite of Assessments – The College Board

  • PSAT 10 – the PSAT 10 is similar to the PSAT 8/9, but has adjusted for tenth graders.  By providing additional practice, and relevant scores, the PSAT 10 can help students prepare for taking the PSAT/NMSQT and the SAT.
  • PSAT/NMSQT – I’ve always been told the PSAT/NMSQT is most relevant for 11th graders to be eligible for the National Merit Scholar awards.  It is critical to be prepared to take this test, many scholarships come from the performance of this test.
    • Who: 11th- and 10th-graders
    • Where: At school (public or private)
    • When: Wednesday, October 11, 2017. Other options are Saturday, October 14 and Wednesday, October 25. (view PSAT/NMSQT calendar)
    • Scholarships: Used by scholarship programs, including the National Merit® Scholarship Program, to look for eligible students.

Source: Taking the PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 | SAT Suite of Assessments – The College Board


As the site says, “To sign up for the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 just get in touch with a local school.”  Most public schools will be offering the test for their students, and usually, they will have a handful of spots for taking the test.  I also recommend contacting your local Private Schools.

To find a school near you, use the College Board’s School Search form.

Practice and Prepare – and Practice again

Practice, Practice, Practice!  Practice tests and preparation materials are available from the schools and  While there, take the time to create a Log-In for College Board.  You will be using this log-in to register for the SAT tests, have scores sent to schools, and to view scores.  Another perk of registering, you can use the Khan Academy SAT app.  Your student can sign up to review a question each day, take a practice SAT test, scan it, and receive immediate feedback.

If additional practice is needed, Kaplan and Princeton Review have test centers in and around metropolis areas.  They offer test preparation classes, as well as SAT practice tests.

*I believe any of the SAT practice tests will help to prepare for the PSAT as well.


  • Shop Local! – As a bookstore manager myself, I highly recommend shopping your local homeschool resource store.  They work really hard to be there for their homeschool families year round!  They may be connected to a local co-op or support group that can provide SAT and PSAT preparatory classes and seminars
  • Shop the publishers directly!  College Prep Genius has a great study program for mastering the SAT.
  • For the out-of-print, and hard to find pieces, I’m including Amazon pictures and linksBy clicking links into Amazon Marketplace, I do earn a small commission based on your purchase.  It doesn’t change the listed price, it just supports my glorious book addiction.

[amazon_link asins=’1506221394,0451487516,1628454377,1628454040,1516707362′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’hachdistribution-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’3c5c2ffb-94e7-11e7-a925-2fc07c98aae8′]

*Not all materials are the same, and there are no guarantees of high scores or scholarships.  Again I say, Practice, Practice, Practice.