Why Do This? To make folks understand that standardized tests are sometimes tricky and not what you think.E (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, Eight)SIX
FINDING THE NORMDon’t worry – You are NOT alone!Too many families approach college admissions as a game with winners and losers – and it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s a better, more successful approach. College Hopes and Worry SurveyThis process can be exciting and enjoyable. It won’t come without effort, but it shouldn’t come with fear or anxiety. Session isa starting step to ease the fear as you navigate the process and get you to think about your prep options, needs and approach
3 sections (Math, Critical Reading, Writing)20 – 80 for each section60 – 240 combinedAverage PSAT score 141 (juniors)NYS AVG PSAT SCORES FOR JUNIOR = 152NYS AVG PSAT SCORES FOR SOPHOMORES = 1452011 NYS National Merit Qualifying Score: 217In the fall of 2011, students took the PSAT/NMSQT to help determine their level of readiness for college. The PSAT/NMSQT 2011 State Summary Reports summarize the characteristics, scores and educational plans of the Class of 2013 and Class of 2014. Refer to your School (or System) Summary Reports to compare your local data with the national- and state-level data on these reports.Highlights of 2011 Junior Data1,557,056 juniors took the PSAT/NMSQT.53.2% of juniors who took the PSAT/NMSQT were female; 46.8% were male.Of those indicating racial/ethnic background, 43.5% of juniors indicated a category other than "white," an increase from 43% in 2010.Junior average scores for 2011 (with comparison to 2010 data): Critical Reading: 47.6 (0.3 increase)Math: 48.3 (0.6 decrease)Writing Skills: 45.6 (0.2 increase)College majors of interest to the Class of 2013 include: health professions and sciences, 19.8%; engineering, 9.6%; visual and performing arts, 8.7%; business management, 8.6%; biological sciences, 5.2%; psychology, 4.2%; and security and protective services, 3.9%. The strongest interest among males was engineering (17.7%); females' most frequently indicated interest was health professions and sciences (27.0%). 11.8% were undecided about a college majorOf the 1.5 million entrants, some 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT® Selection Index scores (critical reading + mathematics + writing skills scores) qualify for recognition in the National Merit® Scholarship Program. In April following the fall test administration, high-scoring participants from every state are invited to name two colleges or universities to which they would like to be referred by NMSC. In September, these high scorers are notified through their schools that they have qualified as either a Commended Student or Semifinalist (about 15-16,000 – less than 1% semi-finalists, and fewer finalists)2012 PSAT/NMSQT is the qualifying test for entry to competitions for scholarships to be awarded in 2014Then about 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists from the class of 2014 will be notified sometime in August/SeptemberClass of 2012 Cutoff ScoresAlabama 211Alaska 212Arizona 213Arkansas 205California 221Colorado 215Connecticut 220Delaware 217District of Columbia 223Florida 214Georgia 218Hawaii 216Idaho 211Illinois 216Indiana 214Iowa 210Kansas 214Kentucky 212Louisiana 209Maine 212Maryland 221Massachusetts 223Michigan 210Minnesota 215Mississippi 205Missouri 213Montana 209Nebraska 209Nevada 209New Hampshire 216New Jersey 223New Mexico 210New York 219North Carolina 217North Dakota 204Ohio 214Oklahoma 209Oregon 216Pennsylvania 215Rhode Island 213South Carolina 211South Dakota 206Tennessee 214Texas 219Utah 208Vermont 217Virginia 220Washington 220West Virginia 204Wisconsin 209Wyoming 204Commended 202International 223New England Boarding Schools 223Highlights of 2011 Sophomore Data1,570,141 sophomores took the PSAT/NMSQT.51.6% of sophomores who took the PSAT/NMSQT were female; 48.4% were male.Of those noting racial/ethnic background, 49.8% of sophomores indicated a category other than "white," a decrease from 50.2% in 2010.Sophomore average scores for 2011 (with comparison to 2010 data): Critical Reading: 43.1 (0.6 increase)Math: 43.1 (0.9 decrease)Writing Skills: 40.9 (0.5 decrease)College majors of interest to the Class of 2014 include: health professions and sciences, 18.0%; visual and performing arts, 10.0%; engineering, 9.2%; business management, 6.8%; biological sciences, 4.9%; security and protective services, 4.6%; and "other", 3.8%. The strongest interest among males was engineering (17.1%); females' most frequently indicated interest was health professions and sciences (25.4%). About 13.9% were undecided about a college major.
Note to Presenter: Use this PowerPoint presentation to help your students understand their PSAT/NMSQT results and benefit from the feedback provided on their score reports. The notes provided throughout the presentation can be read aloud to students or used simply as reference information. There are 4 major parts to the PSAT/NMSQT Score Report: -Your Scores -Your Skills -Your Answers -Next StepsThe score report shows how you performed on each of the three sections of the PSAT/NMSQT: -Critical Reading -Mathematics -Writing Skills
Your ScoresPSAT/NMSQT scores are reported on a scale from 20 to 80. The sample here shows a score of 50 for the Critical Reading section.Below the score is a score range. Ranges show how much your scores might vary if you took the PSAT/NMSQT again before gaining new knowledge or skills. In this case, the Critical Reading score would be within 4 points above or below 50. The performance of students with scores between 46 and 54 would be very similar. Percentiles: How did I do compared to others?Percentiles help you compare your performance on the PSAT/NMSQT to the performance of all other juniors or sophomores who tested. For example, if you scored in the 55th percentile, you scored higher than 55 percent of students who took the test. It also means that 45 percent of students had a score equal to or higher than yours. Another way to understand percentiles is to visualize 100 students lined up from the lowest (or first) percentile to the highest (or 99th) percentile. If you are in the 55th percentile, you would be the 55th student in line, scoring higher than 54 students and lower than 45. Note: Juniors are compared to all juniors who took the test; sophomores and younger students are compared to all sophomores who took the test.
Below your scores, you’ll find information about eligibility for scholarships available through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Each student who takes the PSAT/NMSQT has a Selection Index. The Selection Index is the sum of the Critical Reading, Math, and Writing Skills scores (CR+M+W). To enter National Merit Scholarship Corporations competitions, you must:1. be a full-time high school student;2. graduate the following year and enroll in college full-time;3. complete grades 9-12 in four years; and 4. be a U.S. citizen.If your Selection Index has an asterisk (*) next to it, this means you do not meet all the eligibility requirements for entrance into the competition. Typically, it is because you are not graduating next year.More than 1.5 million juniors enter this competition each year. About 50,000 qualify for recognition, and about 9,700 of these students receive an award. Be sure to look at your own Selection Index and eligibility when you receive your score report.
[This slide may be considered redundant if you discuss National Merit Scholarship using the notes a few slides before. Depending on your state, please change the magic number accordingly]CommendedIn late September, more than two-thirds (about 34,000) of the approximately 50,000 high scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT® receive Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. Commended Students are named on the basis of a nationally applied Selection Index score that may vary from year to year and is below the level required for participants to be named Semifinalists in their respective states. Although Commended Students do not continue in the competition for National Merit® Scholarships, some of these students do become candidates for Special Scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.Semi-FinalistIn early September, about 16,000 students, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers, are notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists. To ensure that academically talented young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, Semifinalists are designated on a state representational basis. They are the highest scoring entrants in each state. NMSC provides scholarship application materials to Semifinalists through their high schools. To be considered for a National Merit® Scholarship, Semifinalists must advance to Finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and all other requirements explained in the information provided to each Semifinalist.FinalistIn February, some 15,000 Semifinalists are notified by mail at their home addresses that they have advanced to Finalist standing. High school principals are notified and provided with a certificate to present to each Finalist.Types of Merit Scholarship AwardsNational Merit® $2500 ScholarshipsEvery Finalist competes for these single payment scholarships, which are awarded on a state representational basis. Winners are selected without consideration of family financial circumstances, college choice, or major and career plans.Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awardsCorporate sponsors designate their awards for children of their employees or members, for residents of a community where a company has operations, or for Finalists with career plans the sponsor wishes to encourage. These scholarships may either be renewable for four years of undergraduate study or one-time awards.College-sponsored Merit Scholarship awardsOfficials of each sponsor college select winners of their awards from Finalists who have been accepted for admission and have informed NMSC by the published deadlines that the sponsor college or university is their first choice. These awards are renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study.
Your Skills SectionThe “Your Skills” section is a valuable part of your PSAT/NMSQT results, showing you a complete picture of how you performed on the different skills tested by the PSAT/NMSQT. Take a closer look to see where you did well and where you might want to improve. The same skills are tested on the SAT. To get more practice before you take that test, try the hundreds of practice questions available online at www.collegeboard.com/quickstart.
Review Your Answers SectionThe middle section of the report is the “Review Your Answers” section. When you receive your results, you will also get your test book, the one you used when you took the test. Be sure to ask for your test book if you don’t have it.Use your Test Book:Using your actual test book will help you make the most of the “Review Your Answers” section, since you’ll be able to go back to questions you got wrong and, with the help of the explanations available on www.collegeboard.com/quickstart, figure out why. You can also look at the notes you made in your test book to see how you got to your answer.Four Columns: The Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing Skills sections of your score report all contain the following information. The first column displays the number of each question as it appeared in the test booklet. The second column displays the correct answer to each question. In the third column you will see the answers that you chose:-a checkmark means CORRECT-O means OMITTED-an alphanumeric letter shows the incorrect answer you choseIn the fourth column we see the letters E, M, or H, which identify the level of difficulty of each question.-E means EASY questions-M means MEDIUM difficulty-H means HARD (the most difficult questions on the test)Remember: This test is for high school juniors who are preparing for college, so it’s possible that an E or easy question might seem difficult to younger students.
Review Your Answers: Mathematics Student-Produced ResponsesNot all the math questions on the PSAT/NMSQT are multiple-choice. The Math section contains Multiple-Choice and Student Produced Response Questions, or “grid-ins”. Here, you solved problems and then recorded answers on a grid. Only answers gridded in the ovals are scored. You receive no credit for answers, even correct ones, written in boxes and not gridded or gridded incorrectly.
Your Educational PlansRead this section to see how well your future plans match your current interests and skills, as well as the courses you will be taking. On your answer sheet, you provided: grade average a college major of interestYour report gives a description of what college students learn and do with the major you indicated. It also notes skills important to that major and high school courses you should take.
The key to doing well on standardized tests, especially the SAT, is to know the test writers, the test structure, and how to use this information to your advantage. While we can’t show you everything we do in a Princeton Review course, we can show you a couple strategies to increase your score.
Before we do that, we need some background so…Point of the slide: leads up to the point that the SAT doesn’t measure intelligenceAsk the crowd this question. People will start throwing out different answers. Scholastic Aptitude test, achievement test, etc. They typically have trouble with the “A”.Make big to do about telling them what it means….It actually stands for NOTHING.Used to be aptitude at some point in the past but they were challenged on that and are not allowed to call it an aptitude test because it doesn’t measure our intelligence.Clever folks at ETS/CB just never figured out a replacement “A”. The SAT is actually the SAT Reasoning Test. Shouldn’t it be renamed the SRT?
Point of the slide: leads up to the point that the SAT doesn’t measure intelligenceAsk the crowd this question. People will start throwing out different answers. Scholastic Aptitude test, achievement test, etc. They typically have trouble with the “A”.Make big to do about telling them what it means….It actually stands for NOTHING.Used to be aptitude at some point in the past but they were challenged on that and are not allowed to call it an aptitude test because it doesn’t measure our intelligence.Clever folks at ETS/CB just never figured out a replacement “A”. The SAT is actually the SAT Reasoning Test. Shouldn’t it be renamed the SRT?
Point of this slide: show that since the test doesn’t measure intelligence, then it is definitely coachable.If you get a 2300 on the test – woooohooo! You are an EXCELLENT SAT taker. You may also be extremely smart, but the one thing we know for sure from the 2300 is that you take this test well. It could be something you were born with. Brown hair, blue eyes, tall and an SAT test-taking gene. If you scored a 1500 it doesn’t mean you are dumb. It means you ain’t so good at taking the SAT. You are probably really smart and do well in school. It’s the number one thing we hear from our students and parents. “I don’t understand, I’m a 4.0 honors student. How is this even possible?” Unfortunately, this student was born with the I ain’t so good at the SAT gene.It’s hard to coach increasing intelligence. That’s not something that is easily increased in 6-12 weeks. SAT scores are.GPA is the most important aspect for admissions counselors.HS Transcripts - reveals all the academic work that you’ve completed from freshman year to senior year; answers the question, “Have you consistently challenged yourself academically?” Have you taken regular courses? Honors classes? APs?You can take the SAT and ACT several times and choose which scores are sent to schools.Test scores are a small piece of a large college admissions puzzleBest scores don’t win – view Academic/Objective vs. Subjective/Personal - Would that applicant make our community better?Experiences!!!ActivitiesRecommendationsEssaysInterviewResumeColleges are relying on standardized test scores when making admissions decisions to a far larger degree that they have in years – the number of applicants at most top colleges is soaring (more kids each applying to more colleges). Test scores are an easier way to make a fast, easy cut of the applicant pool
Point of this slide: set up for the SAT scores don’t = intelligence aha momentAsk this question out loud to the crowd. Let them answer. You will get people who give you the correct answer. When you do, quickly move to the next slide.
show that since the test doesn’t measure intelligence, then it is definitely coachable. Good grades don’t teach strategy on an SAT (more to come later). People simple like to believe they are bad test takers rather than work at it.If you get a 2300 on the test – woooohooo! You are an EXCELLENT SAT taker. You may also be extremely smart, but the one thing we know for sure from the 2300 is that you take this test well. It could be something you were born with. Brown hair, blue eyes, tall and an SAT test-taking gene. If you scored a 1500 it doesn’t mean you are dumb. It means you ain’t so good at taking the SAT. You are probably really smart and do well in school. It’s the number one thing we hear from our students and parents. “I don’t understand, I’m a 4.0 honors student. How is this even possible?” Unfortunately, this student was born with the I ain’t so good at the SAT gene.It’s hard to coach increasing intelligence. That’s not something that is easily increased in 6-12 weeks. SAT scores are.GPA is the most important aspect for admissions counselors.HS Transcripts - reveals all the academic work that you’ve completed from freshman year to senior year; answers the question, “Have you consistently challenged yourself academically?” Have you taken regular courses? Honors classes? APs?You can take the SAT and ACT several times and choose which scores are sent to schools.Test scores are a small piece of a large college admissions puzzleBest scores don’t win – view Academic/Objective vs. Subjective/Personal - Would that applicant make our community better?Experiences!!!ActivitiesRecommendationsEssaysInterviewResumeColleges are relying on standardized test scores when making admissions decisions to a far larger degree that they have in years – the number of applicants at most top colleges is soaring (more kids each applying to more colleges). Test scores are an easier way to make a fast, easy cut of the applicant pool
Walk through the differences. The ACT is still a standardized test, still tricky and sneaky. It’s not a BETTER test it’s just a DIFFERENT test. In particular, we’ve found that strong readers do exceptionally well on the ACT since 3 of the 4 sections are all about reading (yes, I included the science section.)Some students will find that they do significantly better on one test than the other!
Add real test dates if you can.
We are here to answer these questions and many more!When should I take my first test?Regular Admissions: Early Spring of your Junior Year, so you can take up to three tests and/or take SAT Subject Tests by the middle of your Senior Year Fall.Early Admission/Early Decision: Fall of your Junior Year, so you can take up to three tests and/or take SAT Subject Tests by the end of your Junior Year.
PSAT / SAT IThis is the big one that everyone talks about. It was changed because of criticism from the UC’s and it is longer than ever. You will likely take this once or twice in your junior year and then again in your senior year.SAT Subject Tests (Formerly SAT IIs)These are subject based tests that are similar to the curriculum you learn in school. Many students take 2 or 3 of these in May of their junior year, but might also take 1 or 2 in their sophomore year.PLAN/ACTThis is an alternative to the SAT and has been very popular in the Midwest and the South historically. It is given on alternate Saturdays from the SAT. It is accepted by every 4 year school in the U.S.APThese will be taken at your school in May. If you do well, you can receive credit for college classes
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PSAT Scores, Now What?
The Princeton Review
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• PSAT Scores/Score Report
• National Merit
• SAT Quick Facts & Misconceptions
• SAT vs. ACT
• Testing Timeline
• The Princeton Review
Fear or Anxiety?
• About college admissions?
• You are NOT alone!
• 94% stated they find college admissions stressful.
• TODAY - Ease the process & think about your
options, needs and approach
What is the PSAT/NMSQT?
• Stands for Preliminary SAT / National Merit
Scholarship Qualifying Test
• Practice test for the SAT
» You’ll get an idea of how standardized tests work
» See how you perform in a high-pressure testing
» You get SCORES to give you a starting point
• Junior year scores are used as qualifying test for
National Merit Scholarship
How is the PSAT Scored?
Section Math Critical
Score Range 20 – 80 20 – 80 20 – 80 60 - 240
Avg Jr Score 47.6 48.3 45.6 141.5
Avg Jr Score (CA) 48.4 47.3 46.1 141.8
Avg Jr Score (NY) 46.4 45.2 42.9 134.5
Avg Soph Score 43.1 43.1 40.9 127.1
• 1,557,056 Juniors & 1,570,141 Sophomores took
• Roughly 16,000 semi-finalists for NMSQT
• 2011 NYS National Merit Qualifying Score: 217
PSAT → SAT
You can use your PSAT score to help you predict
how you might score on the SAT if you took it right
now without any preparation. Simply add a zero to
each of your PSAT scores.
Critical Reading 52 —> 520
Math 51 —> 510
Writing 53 —> 530
Total 156 —> 1560
PSAT → SAT
Not an exact science.
Major differences between PSAT and SAT
oSAT is much longer and requires more
endurance – takes almost 4 hours
oSAT has harder math than the PSAT
oSAT has a mandatory essay included in the
Writing Skills section
4 Major Parts of Your PSAT/NMSQT Results
3 Test Sections
If you are a junior, your scores are
compared to those of other juniors.
If you are a sophomore or younger
student, your scores are compared to
those of sophomores.
National Merit Scholarship
The Entry Requirements section displays information you
provided on your answer sheet.
The Percentile compares your performance to that of other
The Selection Index is the sum of your critical reading,
mathematics and writing skills scores.
If it has an asterisk, you do not meet all of the eligibility
requirements for the competition.
National Merit Scholarship
• Awarded to the top 1% of the country
• Automatically entered if you meet criteria
• Other criteria considered such as grades and
official SAT scores
• Commended, Semi-finalist and Finalist
• California magic number: 221
See how you did on each skill. The same skills are tested on the SAT.
You will get your test book back with
your PSAT/NMSQT results, so that you
can review the questions.
Some of the math problems required you
to grid in answers instead of selecting an
option. For these questions, you will see
the correct answer(s) written out.
Visit PrincetonReview.com. There you can (FREE):
•Search for colleges – filter by test score, GPA…
•Get a personalized SAT study plan
•Create a get-into-college timeline
•Take a practice SAT or ACT
•Read a great advice article
Visit www.collegeboard.com/quickstart - Use the access
code on your report to log in to My College QuickStart.
There you can:
•Search for colleges
•Take a personality test to find majors & careers that fit you
Lower End of This List:
Higher End of This List:
Middle of This List:
for more score data!
Where will your scores take you?
• SAT scores measure your intelligence
• A student with a high GPA will ace the SAT
• You cannot learn how to increase your scores
• Best SAT Scores win in college admissions
• SAT Scores are becoming less important
What do SAT Scores
How well you take the SAT
40% of your
Takes over 6,000 hours to earn
3 TEST SCORESAccount for
20% of your application
most students don’t spend more
than 15 hours preparing!
• Don’t take your scores personally
• SAT scores DO NOT measure your intelligence
• Proper coaching can increase your scores
• GPA is most important in admissions
• Test scores are still heavily relied on
When is it administered? Seven times per year Six times per year
What is tested? Math, Reading, Writing,
Math, Reading, Writing,
Science, Optional Essay
What is the test
Ten-section exam plus a
Experimental section is
OPTIONAL and is clearly
Penalty for wrong
What do the tests
How well you take the SAT How well you take the ACT
Offered in my state? Yes Yes - accepted by virtually
all schools in lieu of SAT
What about the ACT?
• SAT tests vocabulary
• ACT has a Science section
• SAT essay is required. ACT essay is optional
SAT essay is philosophical
ACT essay is high school friendly
• SAT is trickier but tests easier concepts
• ACT is harder, but straightforward
• SAT is more technique-based (easier to learn)
• ACT is more content-based (harder to learn)
• Easier to improve SAT score b/c it’s a sum of 3 sections
• Harder to improve ACT score b/c average of 4 sections
*If you have a PSAT and PLAN score, we can determine the better test for you.
SAT vs ACT - More Differences
• ALL colleges accept either test
• Some students are naturally better at one test over the
• You may take both tests or just one of them
• Test-optional colleges
• The BEST way to determine which test is better is to use
SAT vs ACT
Which test should I take?
• There is NO downside to taking both tests. We
• Free Practice Tests (SAT, ACT)
• Princeton Review Assessment (PRA)
SAT and/or ACT?
• HS Transcript is your #1 priority!
• Extracurricular Activities: quality over
• Prep for and take your first PSAT or PLAN
• Consider SAT Subject Tests
9th and 10th Grades
• Take Official SAT or ACT
January February (not in NY)
• Take Official SAT Subject Exams
Senior Year is used for backup test dates
• How many times will you take the SAT and/or ACT?
Prep for one, Plan for two, Leave time for three
• How much prep do you need?
• Depends on your goal so however much is right…FOR YOU!
• What extra-curricular activities do you have that will impact
your prep schedule?
• Are you taking AP tests?
• Do you need to take SAT Subject Tests?
• Will you be submitting any early applications?
The College Admissions Tests
What are the five major standardized tests
geared toward College Admission?
• The PSAT – www.collegeboard.com
• The SAT – www.collegeboard.com
• The ACT – www.act.org
• The SAT Subject Tests & AP Exams –
Ready to Prep!
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How we can help!
Our job is to raise scores
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