You just received your PSAT score report, and there are a zillion different scores on this thing! How did you do, and which scores are most important?
Here's what you need to know about the most important parts of your score report:
The 3 big scores you should look at:
The PSAT is scored on the same rubric, but a slightly different scale, as the real SAT. While the SAT is scored in a range of 400–1600, the PSAT is scored in a range of 320–1520.
The percentile compares you to everyone else who took the PSAT on the test date. A 90th percentile score means you scored equal or higher than 90% of the students who took the PSAT during that particular administration.
Here's a quick breakdown of what's important about your Big 3 Scores:
|Score||What is it?||Why it's important|
|READING & WRITING SCORE||
Using Your PSAT Score Report
The PSAT is all about practice. Use your PSAT score report to identify your strengths and weaknesses, so you know what to work on as you prep for the real thing. Example: Are there algebra concepts you need to review? Did you miss picking up points because you ran out of time?
The PSAT and SAT are scored on slightly different scales, but your TOTAL PSAT score is a direct indicator of your total SAT score. For example, a total PSAT score of 1000 means that, if you took the SAT on the same day, most likely you would have gotten a total SAT score of 1000.
Freshman Year: No standardized test for you. Work on your grades!
October – if your school offers the PSAT, it’s a good idea to take it. The PSAT is a “P”reliminary SAT; the contents is similar to the SAT, but the PSAT is shorter, easier, and essay-less.
Two main benefits of taking the PSAT as a sophomore:
It’s good practice for the SAT and a PSAT score will show which areas of the test you might be weaker in.
It’s good practice for your junior-year PSAT (listed below).
The benefit of taking the Pre-ACT as a sophomore:
It’s good practice for the ACT and a Pre-Act score will show you which areas of the test you might be weaker in.
October: it’s a good idea to take the PSAT.
The two main benefits of taking the PSAT as a junior:
It’s good practice for the SAT.
A good score can earn you National Merit recognition, which may include a scholarship!
SAT/ACT – You will likely start taking one or both of these at this point (technically, you can take these tests earlier, but it’s always better to wait until junior year, when you’ve studied the requisite content, especially the math). Each test is offered three times during the spring, but the dates are staggered so that the ACT and SAT are never on the same weekend.
SAT subject Test – These are one-hour multiple-choice test in specific subjects (e.g., Spanish, U.S. History, Biology) given on the same dates at the SAT. You cannot take both the SAT and a Subject Test on the same date, but you can take up to three Subject Tests, which are a good way to show off your strengths. Remember that students opt into the Subject Test, so take the ones in area where you know you will excel.
Fall: Hopefully you’ve taken the SAT and/or the ACT, and/or the Subject Tests by now, but if you want to improve your scores, you’ll have one or two more opportunities usually in October and November. Although some colleges may not accept scores from November test dates. Check with your college counselor to be absolutely sure.
Spring: Enjoy life! You got into college! All your dreams are coming true! And that’s due in large part to the fact that you planned out early which tests you would take and when you would take them.
Please contact All-Pro Tutoring & Test Prep at (716) 400-2767 or (716)310-3319 if you have any questions/concerns regarding the ACT or SAT tests.
Also don't forget to register for our FREE Simulated ACT/SAT tests. Pre-registration is required.
Finding a college that is a good fit and affordable for your teen can be overwhelming with thousands of colleges to choose from. There isn’t a magic formula for building a college list, but there are a few key steps you can take as you and your high schooler start the college search and learn about your financial aid options.
Explore your financial aid options. The most important thing you can do is work with your teen to figure out how to pay for college. Completing the FAFSA during your their senior year of high school, searching for scholarships, including local scholarships and opportunities offered by your employer, and saving for your teen’s education are important steps that can help lessen the financial burden of college.
Determine what your teen is looking for in a college. It’s important to have an open and honest conversation with your teen about what they’re looking for in a college.Do they want to attend a school located in a city or a more suburban or rural setting? Do they want to go to a large school or somewhere smaller? Do they have a particular major in mind?Discussing the answers to questions like these can help you and your teen narrow down their options and identify the “must haves” when it comes to building their college list.
Visit colleges and attend college fairs. Visiting a college is a great way to get a feel for a college and whether your son or daughter might want to apply there. When you’re on campus, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore and talk to lots of different people, including students, professors, and staff.
BigFuture’s Campus Visit Checklist can help you make the most of your visit. If you can’t make it to a college campus, you can learn a lot about different colleges online or by attending a college fair.
Get advice. You aren’t alone and neither is your son or daughter. Talk to people around you who may have gone through the experience as well—family members, other parents, teachers, school counselors, faith leaders, or other community members.Talk to them with your teen about their college goals and get their suggestions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if this is the first time you are navigating the process!
Through the entire college application process, BigFuture, the College Board’s free college planning tool, can help you and your teen. Use our College Search tool to find colleges based on the characteristics that are most important to you and save your college list with your College Board account.
One of the best things you can do as a parent during this time, is to be supportive. It can be a stressful time for both you and your teen, so focus on the destination, and enjoy the journey.
And don’t forget to celebrate the successes and milestones along the way. Putting in the hard work now will be worth it when your teen gets that college acceptance letter in the mail!
By Cassandra Larson, Executive Director for the Access to Opportunity Program at The College Board.
For college entrance test prep contact All-Pro Tutoring & Test Prep (716) 400-2767 or 310-3319. For college planning contact Send Your Kids to College, Western New York's only nonprofit college planning organization. To schedule a private consultation call (716) 633-1515. For more information visit: www.sendyourkidstocollege.com