PSAT 8/9 Testing

student smiling and taking notes in class

Taking the PSAT 8/9 

To help academically talented students reach their potential, parents need to know the extent of their children’s abilities. They need to understand their strengths and weaknesses. We offer 4th–6th Grade Talent Search participants the opportunity to take the PSAT 8/9 as an optional, above-grade-level test to do just that.

Our philosophy

Tests are like measuring sticks for academic achievement. Top scores on grade-level exams show that your student has mastered grade-level material—but they can’t show how far above grade level your student's abilities go any more than a five-foot long measuring tape can tell you the exact height of a six-foot tall person.

4th–6th Grade Talent Search Charts

But an above-grade-level exam doesn’t have that problem. The above-level test has a higher ceiling, which means that it can reveal important insights into your students’ abilities. Once you have that knowledge, you create a tailored educational plan based on what you child needs.

About the PSAT 8/9

We use the PSAT 8/9 as the above-level test for the 4th–6th Grade Talent Search. Developed for eighth and ninth grade students, the test focuses on the topics students have typically learned by the end of middle school. Taken earlier, it is a helpful diagnostic tool.

A boy writing in class

Is your student ready to test?

TIP believes that parents have unique insights concerning their children. You are in the best position to decide whether this experience is right for your child, both academically and emotionally.

However, approached as a low-stakes, purely diagnostic tool, above-level testing is appropriate for students who:

  • score at the top of the range on grade-level assessments
  • consistently make excellent grades without noticeable study or effort
  • demonstrate high ability in regular testing, but who may not receive high grades in the classroom
  • are interested in learning more about the nature of their academic strengths

Find registration information, details on test accommodations, advice on test preparation, guidance on getting ready for test day and using the results.

Testing’s role in the 4th–6th Grade Talent Search

The PSAT 8/9 is an optional part of the talent search that has no impact on what other benefits students can access. Participants have the opportunity to test each year they are enrolled.

In addition, all students who take the PSAT 8/9 are prequalified to join the 7th Grade Talent Search when they reach that grade, though they must enroll to take advantage of the opportunity.