The quick answer is “NO” to the PSAT and Pre-ACT tests.

I am often asked by parents and students for guidance in navigating the test prep waters. “Should my student take the PSAT test?” is a question that I receive often.  As a nationally sought after test prep expert specializing in the ACT test, I have seen a little of everything in my twelve plus years in test prep—and 22 years in the high school English classroom.  Although there is no “one size fits all” answer, there are some pieces of advice that pertain to 99% of students.


Here are my top 3 reasons to NOT have your student take the PSAT/Pre-ACT tests.

  1. The scores do NOT count for college admissions .

For most students, the purpose of taking the ACT or SAT is college admissions. The PSAT test (and Pre-ACT test) DOES NOT count for admissions to college.


  1.  PSAT Scholarship money is largely a Myth

The PSAT is the test the qualifies students for the National Merit Semi-finalist distinction. HOWEVER (and it is a fairly BIG “however”), students need to take the PSAT as a junior to qualify. In other words, a tenth grader taking the PSAT would NOT qualify for the distinction. Also, to qualify for this award, a student must score on the top 1% in the state in which he/she lives. Top 1%! Now, if that applies to your child—AWESOME. Obviously, that is a very small portion of student who can reach that goal. If that is not your child, then take the SAT/ACT tests. And that junior year test is followed up with another test senior year to be awarded the National Merit Finalist award.


  1. Benchmark scores on REAL tests

For a more accurate representation of a student’s ability, I suggest the ACT/SAT tests only. A student can test as early as ninth grade year to earn a score to count for college admissions and NCAA eligibility. So, have your student test early and often to secure a score that helps him/her reach her academic goals!  What are the best months for those benchmarks? Read  more here:


Want some more info about what is covered on the ACT test? Email Jen at for her FREE Special Report on punctuation rules covered on the ACT test. These rules account for 18-20 questions out of the 75 on the English section…so knowing these 7 rules is essential!

More about Jen Henson…

Jennifer Henson ( a.k.a “The GOAL DIGGER”) is a nationally sought after test prep expert specializing in the ACT test.  Jennifer, who was Winton Woods City School’s (OH) Teacher of the Year in 2014, holds a Master of Education degree with a Bachelor’s in English from Xavier University—where she was a walk-on tennis player.  She’s taught 22 years and coached ACT prep for over 12 years– and has an army of teachers trained to assist her requests for tutorials. Her former ACT students now attend notable higher learning institutions, including Notre Dame, The Ohio State University, Texas A&M, The Naval Academy, and the University of Kentucky—among others.

                         Thanks to modern meeting technologies such as Zoom and Facetime, Jennifer has assisted students from California to Connecticut—and states in between—to reach their personal ACT goals. No score is too low or too high, as she has doubled the scores of students starting at the low end, in addition to helping initially higher scoring students achieve the coveted 36 on every section of the test. Two young men playing D1 football had a composite score of a 9 originally, and scored 18 and 20 (respectively) after working with her. Three of her former clients now have NFL experience, one is a stand out WNBA player, and three are shining  in MLB!