What is the PSAT/NMSQT?
The PSAT/NMSQT is the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The purpose of the PSAT is to familiarize students with the kinds of questions, style of directions, and physical environment of an SAT exam, and provides students with a projected SAT score range, personalized feedback, and a study plan. Eleventh grade students who take the PSAT/NMSQT are also automatically screened for the National Merit®Scholarship Program; an academic competition for recognition and scholarships.
Administrative tasks: 50 minutes
Actual testing time: 2 hours and 45 minutes
Total time: 3 hours and 35 minutes
- Administrative tasks: 50 minutes
- Actual testing time: 3 hours
- Total time: 3 hours and 50 minutes
Most Washington colleges are not requiring high school seniors to take standardized tests like the SAT or ACT for fall 2023 admission. While COVID-19 has led to this increased flexibility, many colleges are making their test-optional policies permanent.
Some colleges require an alternative in place of test scores, such as a letter of recommendation, participation in dual credit courses, or success in certain high school classes. Requirements vary by campus but are generally similar by type:
- None of Washington’s public four-year colleges will require SAT or ACT scores for fall 2023 freshman admission, and most will remain test-optional in future years.
- Washington’s private, not-for-profit four-year colleges offer test-optional pathways, although a few require test scores for students who were home-schooled or received non-standard grades.
- Public two-year community and technical colleges are open access, so anyone with a high school diploma or GED can apply and attend. Test scores are not considered.
- List of Test Optional Schools for 2022
- List of Washington Test Optional Schools for 2023
So, should students still take the SAT or ACT? There are private scholarships that take test scores into account. And while some test-optional colleges won’t look at test scores, others will consider them if submitted. In that case, not testing won’t hurt, but good scores could help. Always check with each college directly for the latest admissions information.
The SAT and ACT are both entrance exams used by most college and universities to make admission decisions. The purpose is to measure a high school student's readiness for college. Typically, the higher the score, the more options for attending and paying for college will be available to you.