HSPT vs PSAT: Which One Is Beneficial For You?

Academic tests are important for students, and why not? They not only get them admission into the prestigious institutions of their dreams but bring them scholarships too. Two of the most famous such tests are – HSPT and PSAT. These exams are considered parameters for a student’s academic ability.

In this post, we will try to find out more about both tests in detail.

About HSPT and PSAT

First thing first, what are these tests about?

HSPT stands for High School Placement Test”. Many private and Catholic schools use this standardized test as part of their admission process.

ThePSATis a standardized test and stands for Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test”. It aims to serve as a practice exam for the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test), also known as the National Merit Qualifying Test.

Who Takes These HSPT and PSAT Tests?

HSPT is taken by students seeking admission to Catholic and private schools. It assesses their academic abilities. The students are 8th graders, applying for admissions in 9th grade. The results of HSPT along with other information presented on the application serve as a basis for selection for admissions.

However, one should know that not all Catholic schools require it. Some prefer other tests such as TACHS and SSAT over it. Some do not take the test as a factor in admission. Thus, students need to seek out the specifics of the school they are applying for, beforehand.

The PSAT is taken by school students, most of them in their sophomore or junior years. Also, in the United States, the PSAT serves as the qualifying test for national merit programs. Many students of 10th and 11th standards take them.

What Do They Include in HSPT and PSAT Tests?

HSPT consists of multiple-choice questions. It is quite a challenging test wherein the questions judge the skills and abilities of students. There are 5 sections, including reading comprehension, verbal, mathematics, and language. 3 sections are for verbal, and 2 for mathematics. Students are required to attain 298 questions in total within 2 hours and 30 minutes. Also, calculators are not allowed. As far as scoring goes, that depends on the school itself. For instance, some prefer percentile rankings, others go with scaled grades to compare students.

The PSAT has a scoring range of 320 – 1520. There is no negative marking. The tests last for 3 hours with a break of 15 minutes. It judges a student’s writing, reading, and mathematics skills. The 4 sections are – two sections for mathematics (a calculator is allowed in one), critical reading, and writing skills. The highest possible score here is 1520, which is not the case with the SAT. The result provided is a composite.

There was a change after 2015. Now, reading and writing have been combined into one section. And, in mathematics calculator is permissible in one section.

Who Conducts the HSPT and PSAT Tests?

HSPT is managed by Scholastic Testing Service, Inc. (STS). These are taken by students on specific dates, and preferably at one of the schools they are applying for. When you are applying to multiple Catholic schools, the school which receives the results will share it with other schools, if they have an agreement in place for that.

The PSAT is designed by the College Board, which administers the SAT exam as well. Students are allowed to take this exam once a year only. Generally, it is taken during class hours, in place of other classes.

Which Exam Should You Take: HSPT or PSAT?

Here, your destination shows the path for the journey. Which of these tests applies to you, depends totally on where you are and where you aspire to be.

If you want to get into a Catholic school and it requires an HSPT score, then you have to take it. The score together with your GPA, application, and essays (wherever applicable) will be the basis of the school’s decision. In case you want to receive a scholarship, and the school uses it as a criterion for deciding the same, you will have to appear for it. So yes, a good HSPT score can be a great way to get a scholarship, too!

The PSAT will help you in SAT exams. A good score will get you a scholarship. Around $180 million ‌is awarded in merit scholarships to students each year. These are 3 levels of recognition – Commended, Semi-finalists, and Finalists. About 3-4% of all PSAT applicants, receive a “letter of commendation” and become commended. A year after taking the PSAT, students are confirmed as Semi-finalists as seniors. To be termed as Finalists, students are required to complete an application. A group of people from Finalists only, are awarded scholarships. So, why not take your chance?

Whichever you choose, be serious and thorough about them. After all, any academic assessment is there to measure the consistency and temperament of the individuals, ultimately.

So, work hard, stay focused, and watch your dreams come true!

July 26, 2023
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