I missed the PSAT! Am I doomed?

Too sick to take the PSAT? Don't worry!
Too sick to take the PSAT? Don’t worry!

To those of you who are at home fighting illness and frantically combing the internet to find out if you’ll ever be a National Merit Scholar, TAKE A DEEP BREATH! You can makeup the exam! Yes, if you had to miss today’s PSAT exam due to illness, emergency, or other extenuating circumstances (alien abduction, mauled by tiger, etc.), you haven’t missed your only chance to be a National Merit semifinalist.

The National Merit Scholarship is a highly prestigious $2,500 scholarship prize given to 2,500 students around the US every year. The PSAT (also known as the NMSQT — National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) is used as the preliminary decider in who qualifies for the test. If a junior in high school takes the PSAT and scores above the cutoff score for his or her state, he or she has a chance to receive the scholarship. Even being a semifinalist or finalist can open doors in terms of other scholarships and college admissions—some colleges will even grant a finalist full tuition!

Because of the importance of the exam, it’s important for parents and students to know what their options are if they miss the test. According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s (NMSC) website:

“The student or a school official must write to NMSC as soon as possible after the PSAT/NMSQT administration to request information about procedures for entry to NMSC competitions by alternate testing. The earlier NMSC receives the written request, the greater the student’s opportunities for meeting alternate entry requirements. To be considered, a request must be postmarked no later than March 1 following the PSAT/NMSQT administration that was missed. NMSC will provide alternate entry materials including an entry form that requires the signature of a school official.”

Generally speaking, the “alternate testing” is simply using an exam score from an SAT in place of the PSAT.

So if you missed the test today, what are you waiting for? Follow the instructions from the NMSC website. And don’t forget to make the most out of this extra time to study for the exam!

Contact the NMSC, ASAP!

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