Are you a high school junior and possible candidate for the National Merit Scholarship, but unable to take the PSAT/NMSQT test on the October national test date? There’s now an alternative action to pursue.
A junior unable to test on the national testing date can contact Scholarship Administration of the National Merit office and request alternate testing entry.
If you take any SAT from October to June of your junior year, the National Merit Administration will convert your score to the PSAT scale for scholarship consideration. And, you can take as many SATs as you want within that time period.
What to do: student, parent, or school counselor must contact the National Merit Scholarship Administration office:
The deadline to request this service is April 1st of a student's junior year.
We were told that it’s best to call someone who can walk you through the process. You must write, email or fax the office the “alternate test” request and give the reason for missing the national exam date.
There is a small approval process, but our contact said that the administration isn’t too picky about reasons for missing the national testing date. They don't require a doctor's note, but they will chat with a school counselor or parent. (For home-schooled students, the parent acts as the counselor.) They do rely on the honor system; thus far, this service has not been abused, as most students don't want to sit for the SAT over and over.
Students who feel they made a poor showing on the national PSAT test date may also use the alternative testing entry – you can cancel a PSAT score. To do so, student, parent or counselor must to contact the NM Administration office by mid-Nov after the test (this year the cut off date was Nov 15). The cancellation is binding, no matter what.
If a test taker ends up scoring well — too bad. That score remains invalid because it was cancelled it. Remember that scores for the October test are not released until early December. So, if a student has a “bad hair day,” request Alternate Testing Entry and take an SAT to submit for National Merit.