The PLAN and the PSAT Explained

In this week’s VLOG, Susanna explains the difference between the PLAN and the PSAT. Watch to find out when you take these tests and how they can help you in your college application process.
Welcome to another edition of the CollegeMapper VLOG. Today we’re talking about the PLAN and the PSAT, explaining the difference to all you newbie test-taking kiddos out there.
Let’s start with the PSAT it’s a little bit easier. The PSAT stands for the Practice SAT. Makes sense, right? PSAT: Practice SAT. The PLAN makes no sense. It’s actually the practice ACT. It should be called the PACT, right? Well, that’s my personal opinion. Anyway, it’s called the PLAN.
So, you’re going to take both of these tests probably at some point in high school. Most high schools offer the PLAN to sophomores. Many high schools offer the PLAN to sophomores, and virtually every high school in America makes their Juniors take the PSAT, usually in October.
If you are an eager sophomore, you can take the PSAT as a sophomore when the Juniors take it. What this means, eager sophomore, is that you will be taking the PLAN and the PSAT pretty much in the month of October, maybe November depending on your school, but October. And you could back-to-back decide, having taken a practice of each one, which one you prefer. Then you can prep for that one next year exclusively because you will have a pretty good indicator of what one you did better on.
Juniors, you’ll be taking the PSAT not the PLAN, that’s for sophomores. When you take the PSAT you want to do your best, because colleges use your PSAT score to start recruiting you through marketing materials and the National Merit Scholarship uses the PSAT score as a qualifier. So, you really do want to go in there and do your best on that test during your Junior year. Your sophomore year you can use those tests as an indicator as to what one you might like to prepare for.
That’s the difference between the PLAN and the PSAT. So, happy October to everybody, aren’t those tests fun to take. Kids, you can do it. Yay, college!


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