PSAT Prep.  Online and in-person with Breakaway Test Prep.

With more than three million high school juniors taking the PSAT each year, the PSAT is, by far and away, the nation’s most popular standardized test. Despite its popularity, however, its purpose is not widely understood.  The PSAT’s full name is PSAT/NMSQT, and it is the second part of the name (NMSQT) that belies its primary function: to identify the nation’s National Merit Scholars.  It is not, however, an admissions test, so a terrific score on the PSAT won’t help get you into the college of your choice.  Only the ACT and the SAT are admissions tests, which is why Breakaway recommends focusing on prep for the admissions tests, and then supplementing ACT or SAT prep with appropriate, targeted instruction for the PSAT.

For top scorers, i.e., the top 1/2 of one-percent of scores, the PSAT is the test that qualifies students for the National Merit Scholarship.  More than $25 million in scholarships are available through this program.  Every year, approximately 16,000 students nationwide become National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalists based on their score on the PSAT.  Another 34,000 students are recognized as Commended Scholars.  Together with the National Merit Scholars, these groups comprise the top 50,000 scorers nationwide.

For the Class of 2020, the cutoff score for Commended Scholars was a 210; the cutoff score for National Merit Scholars was 219.  A student’s National Merit qualifying score is calculated by doubling the student’s reading and writing score and adding the student’s math score to that total.  That total is then divided by ten.  Here’s an example: suppose a student scores a 620 in reading and a 640 in math.  The student’s National Merit Score would be calculated by doubling the reading score (620 x 2 = 1240) and adding the math score (640) to get a score of 1860.  That score is then divided by ten to arrive at a 186.  Cutoff scores for a given class are announced in September of that class’s senior year.

Want to give your student a boost on the PSAT? Breakaway offers private instruction for the PSAT, as well as Breakaway PSAT bootcamps in September only.  Here is some information on private instruction for the PSAT:

  • Comprehensive reviews of all commonly tested concepts in grammar, algebra I, geometry, algebra II, trigonometry, other advanced math topics, chemistry, physics and biology
  • Critical test-taking and time management strategies for all sections of the test, including the time-constrained sections of reading and science
  • A proprietary and proven study guide that provides thorough overviews of each section of the test, including key concepts, hundreds of sample problems and critical insights about test-taking and time-management strategies
  • Access to ten practice PSAT exams
  • Access to Breakaway’s proctored practice tests held nearly every weekend of the year at our testing center at 3440 Beltline Blvd. in St. Louis Park
  • Convenient lesson times and locations; instructors are available seven days per week, daytimes and evenings
  • The cost for private instruction is $125/hour. There is a one-time $100 fee for materials and practice tests.

Breakaway is pleased to offer private instruction in various convenient locations across the metro area.

  • To learn more about prep in Edina, St. Louis Park, Minneapolis and Minnetonka, contact Ron Michalak, Breakaway’s president, at [email protected] or 612–216–5133.
  • In Eden Prairie, Chanhassen and Chaska, please contact Matt McManus, Breakaway director. at [email protected] or 612-578-9995.
  • In St. Paul and St. Paul suburbs, please contact John Kingsbury, Breakaway director, at [email protected] or 218-791-7910.
  • In Plymouth, Wayzata and the northwest suburbs, please contact Barbara Jeffers, Breakaway director, at [email protected] or 612-396-9676.

Ready to get started?  Click here to register for a practice test. Or, if you’d prefer to arrange a call to discuss your student and how Breakaway could help, please click here to complete an inquiry form.

Breakaway also offers a PSAT bootcamp in September.  Click here to learn more!