Posts Tagged ‘PSAT exam’

What’s a Good PSAT Score?

Thursday, May 16th, 2013
PSAT test

PSAT exam

“Let Go Of That Score”

If you are worried about your college entrance exam scores – namely the standardized tests – you should be…somewhat.  For those suffering from score-induced panic, know that your scores, while important, should never infiltrate your self-esteem, let alone be a measure of it.

Let the others worry about themselves; you’ll have enough to manage!  First up in your unique standardized testing path is taking the PSAT in October of 11th grade.  A shortened version of the SAT, the 2 hour and 10 minute PSAT serves two main purposes: 1) to give you a rough (and ONLY ROUGH!) idea of your overall multiple choice questions performance, and 2) to qualify the top 1% scorers for National Merit Semi-finalist eligibility.  While prestigious, National Merit is a separate, later series of steps to take.  Right now, dismiss that concept altogether.  Take the PSAT with as much focus as possible.  The outside, overwhelming world only compromises your best efforts if you let it! (more…)

Does the PSAT Count?

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
Preliminary SAT

Preliminary SAT

The Preliminary SAT or PSAT is a test administered by the College Board to juniors (and some sophomores) in October.  It is a test that officially marks the beginning of your SAT process and is a helpful diagnostic tool.  The PSAT contains the same kinds of questions you find on the SAT and therefore gives you a good sense of what the actual test is like.

The PSAT includes multiple-choice questions on vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension, algebra, geometry, and numbers and operations.  It covered this material exactly as the SAT does, but with half the number of sections. (more…)

The Importance of the PSAT

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

For many students and parents, the PSAT is their first encounter with the SAT process and it can be very daunting. The format is foreign, the PSAT’s relationship to the SAT unknown, and thus the PSAT’s importance seems vague.  A lot of misinformation gets spread in school communities about the PSAT, so lets try and dispel the myths.

Colleges do not see the PSAT.  The PSAT, or Preliminary SAT, is a diagnostic tool for students and parents to get a sense of what the SAT is like.  Colleges have no access to your score, nor are they interested in it. It is a test that is, first and foremost, for the student.

The only practical ramification of the PSAT pertains to the National Merit Scholarship.  Students who place in the 99th percentile (in most states) of the PSAT become eligible for a National Merit Scholarship.  A high score doesn’t guarantee that you will be awarded a scholarship, it only means you are eligible.  Basically, it’s the cherry on top, but not the real purpose of the PSAT exam.

The real purpose of the PSAT is to see where a student stands in relationship to the SAT.  The PSAT consists of 5 sections: 2 math sections, 2 reading sections, and 1 writing section. While the question types and content covered on the PSAT is also covered on the SAT, the SAT exam is much longer. The SAT consists of 10 sections (one of which is experimental and not graded). The remaining 9 sections of the SAT break down into 3 math sections, 3 reading sections, 2 writing sections, and an essay.

All of these affinities between the SAT and PSAT remaining true, it’s still a mistake to put TOO much weight on the PSAT score as an indicator of how a student will perform on the SAT.  If you read CATES’ upcoming newsletter (posted on our site in early 2012) you can find out exactly the ways the PSAT score is not a great gauge of the SAT.  The PSAT is really just a taste of the SAT and a student’s first opportunity to understand the testing process. Study hard, be prepared, but don’t freak out.