The PSAT is a College Board examination administered in October of every school year. It is an officially released version of a previously administered SAT exam. The exam is scored from 20-80 for each of the three parts, Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing. While all high school students can register to take the PSAT, the district will only pay for 11th grade students who are likely to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship. Any other students interested in taking the PSAT can pay $15 to take the assessment. The PSAT itself has NO bearing on college admissions. So, why take it?
A) The PSAT provides you with good information about what you can do to prepare for the SAT examinations you might take later on.
B) The PSAT is used by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation to qualify students for various scholarships based on their Junior year PSAT scores.
C) Colleges and universities use the information from the PSAT as a means to begin communicating with students regarding higher education and financial aid opportunities.
Click here to view a video about getting ready for the PSAT (2010)
Click here for a powerpoint about interpreting the PSAT
SAT vs. ACT
The SAT and ACT are two competing examinations for college entrance. The SAT is typically used in the eastern half of the country, and the ACT is typically used in the western half. This is more because of where their headquarters are located than for any other reason. Most schools will accept either an SAT or an ACT score BUT do not take that for granted! Check with the school you are considering to see what they want, either via the school's website, or by calling the school's admissions department.
SAT vs. ACT Comparison
The SAT is one mechanism used by colleges to determine your readiness for success at their school. This exam has three parts, Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing, and each has a minimum score of 200, with a maximum score of 800. Tests are typically administered on a Saturday morning, and are NOT administered at every high school. To sign up for the SAT, please visit www.collegeboard.com. You can take the exam as many times as you wish, and most schools will accept your highest individual score in each area, even if they are on different test dates. Typically, students do not perform significanly better on the SAT after the third attempt unless they have made some dedicated effort to prepare. If you wish to attend a 4-year college or university that uses the SAT for admission, it is a good idea to take it at least twice, once during your junior year and early in senior year. Community colleges and two year schools do not typically use the SAT for admissions, but will use them for placement if you have taken them. Test scores must be sent directly to the requesting college or university from College Board.
• The ACT is the only test with College Readiness Standards. The College Readiness Standards are sets of statements intended to help you understand what the scores earned on the ACT mean. The ACT has developed College Readiness Benchmark Scores to directly measure College Readiness Standards that are based on actual college performance of students and reflected by specific test scores.
• The ACT is based on information your students are learning in high school. Every day your students attend class they're preparing for the ACT. Test questions in the four content areas -- English, mathematics, reading, science -- are directly related to what they are learning in most of their high school courses. Because the ACT is based on what is taught in high school, students are generally more comfortable with the ACT.
• The ACT rewards your students for what they know. The ACT is the only college admissions test that is based on the number of correct answers -- with no penalty for guessing. Tell students to do their best, and mark an answer to every question!
• There are many ways to help prepare your students for the ACT. Taking challenging courses in high school is the best way students can prepare for the ACT. It is a good idea for students to become familiar with the test before they take it, and ACT's student website --www.act.org -- offers free online practice test and testing tips for each content area, including the optional Writing Test. ACT also offers tools such as ACT Online Prep -- the online test prep program created by ACT -- and other resources to help students get ready for the test.
• The ACT is accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. ACT scores are accepted by ALL four-year colleges and universities in the United States, including Ivy League schools.
General Information: http://act.org/
ACT Test Prep: http://www.actstudent.org/testprep/index.html