When you think about the PSAT, you probably think of it as a pre-SAT. While the PSAT is a great primer for the SAT (and even the ACT), it's way more than just a trial run for the real thing. More than 3.4 million high school students (mostly juniors and sophomores) take this nationwide multiple-choice test every year.
The PSAT won't count towards your college admissions applications, but it is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship. (Terrified? Learn more about the National Merit Scholarship and put your mind at ease.) This means that some of the highest scoring students may win scholarship money, so while you shouldn't stress out about the PSAT, you certainly shouldn't ignore it either. Instead, use the PSAT as both practice for the SAT and ACT and one of the starting points on your college admissions journey.