The Parents Guide to PSAT 8/9
The PSAT 8/9 is a test that eighth and ninth graders take during the regular school day. It’s the first test in the SAT Suite of Assessments, which also includes the PSAT 10, PSAT/NMSQT, and the SAT. All the tests in the suite measure the knowledge and skills your child is learning in school—the same knowledge and skills they’ll need to succeed in college.
- The PSAT 8/9 tests your child’s reading, writing, and math skills.
- The questions on the PSAT 8/9 are grade-appropriate for eighth and ninth graders.
- PSAT 8/9 scores aren’t sent to colleges.
- Schools can choose a date between September and April to administer the PSAT 8/9. See possible PSAT 8/9 testing dates.
- Homeschooled students can request to take the PSAT 8/9 at a local school. Get more info for homeschooled students.
- If your child needs testing accommodations, they don’t need official approval by the College Board. Learn more about PSAT 8/9 testing accommodations.
- The PSAT 8/9 doesn’t qualify students for the National Merit® Scholarship Program.
- Your child’s school may cover the cost of taking the PSAT 8/9. Talk to your child’s school counselor to find out.
Why Your Child Should Take the PSAT 8/9
The PSAT 8/9 gives you, your child, and their teachers valuable information about your child’s academic strengths and weaknesses while there’s still plenty of time for them to improve their skills.
Maybe your child excels in math but struggles with reading. Maybe they’re great at grammar but frustrated with fractions. Once your child takes the PSAT 8/9, their score report will pinpoint exactly what they need to work on to graduate from high school and be ready for college.
The PSAT 8/9 score report also includes a section called AP Potential, which lets your child know which Advanced Placement® (AP) courses they might be ready to take.
Read More About It
How to Prepare for the PSAT 8/9
Because the purpose of the PSAT 8/9 is to identify the areas students need to focus on and set a starting point for progress, your child doesn’t have to do anything special to prepare for the test.
If your child does the following three things, they’ll be ready to take the PSAT 8/9:
- Pays attention in class
- Completes their homework
- Asks for help when they need it
After the PSAT 8/9
Here are some steps your child can take after they get their PSAT 8/9 scores to stay on track for college and career success:
- Create an account on Khan Academy® and focus on improving the skills they’re learning in school. This will also help them prepare for the PSAT 10, PSAT/NMSQT, and SAT.
- Use Career Search to start exploring careers that match their interests and skills.
Due to student privacy laws, students who are under 13 cannot create an online account with College Board. Therefore, schools will need to be responsible for sharing score reports directly with students who are under 13.
Schools can either:
- Show those students their online score report.
- Print the score report from the K–12 Score Reporting Portal. Depending on local data privacy laws and pending parent permission, educators may choose to email the PDF of the score report to the parent.
Read More About It
- Start with PSAT 8/9 and Grow with Khan Academy (.pdf ǀ 55 KB)
Frequently Asked Questions
How should my child prepare to take the PSAT 8/9?
Your child doesn’t need to study for the PSAT 8/9. The best way they can prepare is to pay attention in class and do their homework. The test is meant to assess the skills they are currently learning in school.
How do students get their PSAT 8/9 scores?
If your child is 13 or older, they can create a free College Board online account and sign in to see their PSAT 8/9 scores at Student Score Reports.
Can homeschooled students take the PSAT 8/9?
Yes. Contact schools in your area to find one that is administering the test and can accommodate your child.