It’s PSAT Time!
Just as sure as autumn comes to New England each fall, the PSAT makes it into sophomore and junior year for many. For sophomores this is a good time to practice and pay attention to how you take a standardized test. This is not the time for you to get nervous or to stress out. For juniors, this is the National Merit year. This could be a big deal for some.
Let’s discuss the consequences of the PSAT scores. I will not say that the scores for sophomores have NO impact. This depends entirely on the school. Some smaller private, and some very competitive large public schools, use the sophomore PSAT score and the mid-year GPA to decide if the student can be invited into the much prized and challenging AP courses. Yes, it is true. As there are only so many people who can be invited into the core AP courses, the schools limit the option by scores and grades. For the uninformed student and parent, when it comes to course selection at the end of sophomore year for junior year, there is general distress when they learn that PSAT scores and GPA combined disqualify their child from getting into the AP course. So be forewarned. You do not have to stress out and study…but downloading the free copy from the College Board site, and taking the free Khan Academy class in it, are a nice way to gain some insight, get practice, and boost your scores.
If you are a junior, the PSAT is attached to the National Merit Scholarship Quotient. This is a very prestigious honor that few actually end up getting a check during first semester in college. It is limited to scores and grades only during its process of winnowing down to the winners per state. Since it is only grades and scores, it is considered a pure measurement. So those who make it to finalist are acknowledged, and those who actually win, get a check for their college during their first semester. The process takes place over two years, and eventually the scores are generated each year state by state. So it is your permanent resident state, not your school state, if you are in boarding school.
It is worth trying to improve your scores on this test to make it to at least quarter finalist position, which you are informed of when the scores are released sometime around or after Thanksgiving. This is an honor you can report on your college applications. It is meaningful to a college. You are capable of tough stuff, which is one measurement that most colleges value highly.
One other use is by sports camps! I know…what does this have to do with playing sports. Well some of the elite camps run by colleges are interested in not just good players, but smart players as well. So some camps you apply to for summer between sophomore and junior year will ask you for your PSAT scores….just some advice…it the scores are low, do not report them as not all sophomores take them. You can basically say you did not take it yet.
The College Board has two free PSAT practice tests online you can download. You can actually also score them on the site….it is a process as you have to enter each of your scores into the site. Your score will be generated and a percentile based on a broad average, not the actual average based on this year’s testers. The National Merit will generate this year’s average once it received the PSAT scores from the College Board in early November. There are a host of practice books, if you are ambitious. I would stay away from Barron’s and something called Ivy Gate…..use the traditional Kaplan or Princeton Review…these tend to utilize more questions like the actual. Also there is Khan Academy, which is supported with information by the College Board itself.
But KNOW that these scores are NOT reported to any colleges unless your counselor sends along through Naviance.
If you want some brainstorming as to how to advance or you want to book a session or two, contact us! We can help you in a more personal way.