Tag Archives: National Merit

Be a National Merit Scholar! Part III – Scholarship & Opportunities

PSAT

Incentive is the mother of all motivation, and the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) is no exception; one of the most obvious reasons students compete so desperately to become National Merit Scholars is the financial reward that accompanies such an achievement. Before we dole out sagacious and prescient advice on how to Be a National Merit Scholar! (like study your vocabulary, for example), we want our students to know exactly what they are competing for. There are several different types of scholarship associated with being recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). National Merit Scholarship $2500 Scholarships – … Continue reading

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Be a National Merit Scholar! Part II – What Does it Take to be a Finalist?

PSAT

If you scored well enough on the PSAT in October, you will be notified of your status (whether you are a Commended Student or Semifinalist), via your high school, in September of the following year. Receiving any kind of commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is extremely prestigious, but no one likes to run a long race and come in second place. Of the approximately 50,000 students who are recognized for their PSAT scores, only 15,000 will advance to become Finalists. So what makes these students more deserving among a peer group of other exemplary students; what does … Continue reading

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Money Makes the World Go ‘Round – A Brief History of the PSAT/NMSQT

Money

The PSAT/NMSQT is no ordinary standardized test. As the qualifying exam for the National Merit Scholarship, the PSAT/NMSQT is the Cerberus that guards the gates to a $2500 scholarship prize and a slew of other desirable benefits — a leg up in the admissions process, the prestige of being a National Merit Scholar, and sometimes even full scholarships to certain universities. When money is involved, the rules are different; when money is involved, everyone wants a slice of the pie. Unlike the SAT, whose changes have historically been content-driven, the PSAT/NMSQT, for better or for worse, has evolved around financial … Continue reading

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Be a National Merit Scholar! Part I – Qualifications and Overview

PSAT

Every year approximately 1.5 million students participate in the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT), otherwise known as the Preliminary SAT or PSAT. Of these 1.5 million students, approximately fifty five thousand students will score high enough to be recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program. Needless to say, qualifying is extremely competitive and a very big deal. Whether you qualify as a Finalist, Semifinalist, or even as a Commended Student, a high enough score on the PSAT will give you access to otherwise inaccessible opportunities. This is especially true in the context of scholarship and financial aid. Practically every … Continue reading

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What PSAT Scores Make the Cut for National Merit?

MapofUS

Now that PSAT scores have been received, the question that most people want answered revolves around the cutoff scores for National Merit Semifinalist standing. In other words: What is the minimum score that will qualify me to be a National Merit Semifinalist? This is certainly an immensely significant cutoff, mainly due to the benefits and scholarships that come with being a National Merit Scholar. As mentioned before here, the 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists from the class of 2014 will be notified sometime in August/September. As you eagerly await this announcement, here is some context for determining how close your score … Continue reading

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Tips and Tricks for the SAT and PSAT: Critical Reading

Student

The Critical Reading section of the SAT encompasses a multitude of challenges, and Critical Reading itself is often a subject at which people naturally excel or struggle significantly. If you aren’t a naturally gifted reader, or you’re a senior with lofty ambitions but lacking the necessary time to achieve them, then you should consider a Test Masters preparatory course. In the world of standardized testing, the very best way to overcome a weakness to a specific topic is with powerful and effective test taking strategies. Though our test taking strategies are available only to Test Masters students, there are a number of long-term preparations and habits any student … Continue reading

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Ask Test Masters: PSAT Prep

Ask-Test-Masters

Ask Test Masters is a great, free service that we provide where you can ask the experts at Test Masters all of your test prep and college admissions questions. If you have a question, send it to us – chances are other people are wondering the same thing. Last week, Beth, a parent, asked: “How many points would a student reasonably expect his score to improve on the PSAT between sophomore and junior year with and without test prep? My son took the PSAT as a sophomore and I am not sure I want him to take the time to … Continue reading

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What PSAT Scores Make the Cut for National Merit?

MapofUS

Now that PSAT scores have been received, the question that most people want answered revolves around the cutoff scores for National Merit Semifinalist standing. In other words: What is the minimum score that will qualify me to be a National Merit Semifinalist? This is certainly an immensely significant cutoff, mainly due to the benefits and scholarships that come with being a National Merit Scholar. As mentioned before here, the 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists from the class of 2013 will be notified sometime in August/September. As you eagerly await this announcement, here is some context for determining how close your score … Continue reading

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What does it really take to get into the Ivy League? Part IX: Checklist

This is the foliage of destiny.

Welcome back to College Compass’s series, What does it really take to get into the Ivy League? Now that we’ve covered all of the aspects of applying to an Ivy League school, I have taken the liberty of compiling the main points from the preceding posts into a convenient Ivy League admissions checklist: Straight As, with maybe 2-3 Bs max As many AP/IB courses as possible Summer before Junior year: know PSAT National Merit cutoff score for your state, practice and aim above that score (may include test prep sercives). Take SAT and/or ACT multiple times (perhaps once at the end … Continue reading

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Choosing the right college for you: Part II – Financial Aid

Financial aid offers can have a large impact on where you choose to go to college.

Welcome to the second post of our new series on choosing the right college for you. Last time, we discussed the role that the cost of college can play in your decision making process. Another aspect of that issue will be discussed in this post: financial aid. Financial aid is another important factor to consider when choosing a college, and it generally comes in three varieties: need based aid, merit based aid, and what I’m going to call interest group based aid. Need based aid is probably the most common type, and this is generally how it works: you and … Continue reading

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