Students register for the PSAT exam through their high schools, not through College Board. Though College Board administers both the PSAT and the SAT, online registration is only available for the SAT. Schools will arrange the PSAT, including choosing the test date and informing students how to sign up to take the exam.
Ask Your High School
When you eventually sign up for the SAT, you’ll do so through the official College Board website. The PSAT registration does not happen through the College Board. You register with your high school. Because the PSAT happens in October, high school juniors should receive information about signing up for the PSAT in September.
If you have heard nothing from your homeroom teacher or your guidance counselor, stop by the guidance office to pick up details on how to register for the PSAT.College Board has a search tool to let you know which high schools offer the PSAT. You can use the search tool to figure out if your high school will administer the test this year. If your high school does not offer the PSAT (or if you are a homeschooled student), you can find schools near you that are and contact another school about registering.
Know Your Test Date
The PSAT has three test dates in October, though you can only take it once. The primary test date is the date most schools offer the PSAT. That same week the PSAT also has a Saturday test date. Later in October is the alternate test date.
Your school will offer the PSAT on one of those days. If it’s the primary day, expect to miss class, and communicate with your teachers and guidance counselor about this. If it’s Saturday, you might have to arrange for transportation to your high school.
Get Your Registration and Payment Instructions
Registering for the SAT is simple because the process happens through the College Board no matter where you go to high school. For the PSAT, your registration instructions will be specific to your high school. Some high schools have you sign up and pay through a website. Others ask you to do so in person.
Still, others might have you sign up early but pay when you show up to take the test. Occasionally, high schools will cover part or all of the PSAT costs for students. You can also get a PSAT waiver if you’re from a low-income household. However, your school has to contact the College Board to get the waiver, so talk to your counselor as soon as possible if you need help paying for the test. Right now, it’s under $20 to take it.
Though the PSAT does not go on your college application, it is helpful in other ways. Take the PSAT as a junior so you may potentially qualify for a National Merit Scholarship. Use the PSAT as a way to practice for the SAT. Identify your strengths and weaknesses in certain subjects by looking at your PSAT results. Registering for this test is a shrewd step in getting ready for college applications.