Anne Arundel
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Advanced Studies & Programs

Advanced Studies and Programs - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, and AP
  1. When do students take the PSAT/NMSQT?

All AACPS students in grades 9, 10, and 11 take the PSAT/NMSQT during the Wednesday test administration in mid-October.  The test is administered in all AACPS high schools.

  1. Why do students take the PSAT/NMSQT three times?

Students’ scores on the PSAT/NMSQT provide valuable information about their readiness to succeed in AP courses.  Moreover, the PSAT/NMSQT helps students build critical thinking and vocabulary skills needed for academic success.  Finally, high school juniors qualify for National Merit Scholarships based on PSAT/NMSQT scores.  (NMSQT stands for “National Merit Scholar Qualifying Test.”)
  1. I’ve received my PSAT/NMSQT score.  Now what?

Your PSAT/NMSQT Score Report included a link to My College QuickStart®.  This is a powerful resource that will help you improve your academic skills, and make important decisions about college and career choices.  For more information, visit My College QuickStart® at

  1. What does “SAT” stand for?

According to the College Board, SAT was an originally an abbreviation for “Scholastic Aptitude Test.” In 1993, the test was renamed the SAT I: Reasoning Test. At the same time, the former Achievement Tests were renamed the SAT II: Subject Tests. In 2004, the numerals "I" and "II" were dropped and the tests are now named the SAT Reasoning Test (or just SAT) and SAT Subject Tests. SAT is a simple and recognizable way of referring to the SAT Reasoning Test.

  1. What kinds of questions are on the SAT?

For a detailed answer, visit

  1. Where can I go for guided practice on the SAT?

All high school students have free access to The Official SAT Online Course.  Your school can provide you with a one-time access code that you use to set up your account.  Once you’ve decided on a username and password, you’re set!  The website for The Official SAT Online Course is

With your student access you can work on short practice quizzes, receive instant feedback about your answers, even take a one of six full-length practice SATs!

  1. I want to take my first AP course.  What are the prerequisites for being an AP student?

AP courses are for any high school student who is ready to accept the challenge of a challenging and academically rigorous learning experience.  A “first AP course” should be in a discipline you find especially interesting.  Talk to the AP teachers in your school, your guidance counselor, and your parents.  Your friends who have taken AP courses may be able to help, too.  AP courses require you to read, think, and perform at a college level.  Think carefully about the academic challenges you’re ready and willing to accept - be prepared to hard work and learn for life!

For more PSAT/NMSQT information, visit the official website at:

 For more information about the SAT, visit the official website at

For additional “Frequently Asked Questions” regarding AP courses, go to