|By Nedad (Nedad) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 10:27 am: Edit|
If a student a) doesn't need Merit Scholar scholarships and b) hasn't a snowball's chance in heck of getting one anyway and c)doesn't need SAT
practice, is there any reason the test can't be skipped? We have a very, very major conflict with the date, and the second available date (some other schools are using the alternative date) is no good either.
|By Pokey318 (Pokey318) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 10:34 am: Edit|
Wow! At our schools, the PSAT's are giving on a school day in the morning. There should not be a conflict as the student should be in school anyway. With that said, I guess it would not matter if the PSAT's were taken or not. It really is uses as a practice for the SAT's, but is also used as a guide in looking for colleges. I guess if your school doesn't care if you take it or not, then it would be ok.
|By Nedad (Nedad) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 10:38 am: Edit|
At our school it is ONLY given on a Saturday morning, Oct. 16. The college board allows one other date - Oct. 13, I think - a Wednesday - and my kid could take it at another school but there is way too much going on at school that day (two different double period labs, AP stuff etc) and it would be really bad to miss school that day!
I just worry about unintended consequences that we may not be thinking of in advance which will LATER make us say, "Dang! Why did we let this one skip it?"
|By Coureur (Coureur) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 10:51 am: Edit|
Even though you may not need/get any money from National Merit people, it's still very nice to be able to put "NM Semi-Finalist" on the apps. Many colleges are eager to have them and offer them scholarships, sometimes very generous ones. Plus it's just nice not to have to leave the National Awards and Honors section blank on the app.
If it were my kid and (s)he had a shot at doing well on the exam, I'd make sure it got taken.
|By Garland (Garland) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 10:53 am: Edit|
I can't think of any unintended consequences, if you are sure the student isn't going to at least make Commended (cutoff usually around 200). Commended looks good on college apps. Otherwise, if s/he is getting some SAT practice of some sort, it should be fine.
(Another thought: your student's name goes to colleges, and you start getting all the college mail after the PSAT (not sure if you want it or not!))
|By Voronwe (Voronwe) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 10:55 am: Edit|
Won't this fall's PSAT have the new writing part that is going to be on the regular SAT starting in March? It might be good to get a trial run on what that will be like.
|By Pokey318 (Pokey318) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 10:59 am: Edit|
Our school gives it on the October 13 date. I just assumed nationwide it was only given on that date; all schools here in my state take them on that Wednesday.
|By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 10:59 am: Edit|
There are ways to get NMS Commended or semi-finalist status if a student misses the PSAT. Soozie's D was in this situation. I believe the student has to send in SAT scores that are commensurate with the PSAT s/he would have received.
The PSAT is useful practice for the SAT, but I expect information about the new SAT can be gained in different ways.
|By Massdad (Massdad) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 11:00 am: Edit|
Skip the PSAT? Yikes! What is the HS world coming to?
Having a D who took it both soph and jr year, I've come to realize that the REAL purpose of the PSAT is not practice for the SAT, after all, how can a shorter exam be practice, but rather to generate fodder for the CB mailing lists that they sell.
Regarding listing NM commended, semifinalist etc, how does that compare to listing SAT scores? I think any sensible college will go for the real thing, SATs, rather than lite, PSAT.
|By Coureur (Coureur) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 11:10 am: Edit|
>>Regarding listing NM commended, semifinalist etc, how does that compare to listing SAT scores? I think any sensible college will go for the real thing, SATs, rather than lite, PSAT.<<
Some colleges offer scholarshps based on NM status alone, independent of subsequent SAT scores. E.g. USC offers an automatic 1/2 tuition scholarship to any NM finalist. To the best of my knowledge they do not offer similar automatic scholarships to all comers with SATs above a certain level. Although I'm sure that high SAT scores weigh heavily in awarding other merit scholarships on a case-by-case basis.
Schools, particularly schools on the make, like to boast about how many NM SF/F they enrolled, and the SAT scores don't get them that particular stat.
|By Over30 (Over30) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 11:14 am: Edit|
From reading the CB site, I don't think the writing section has changed from prior PSAT's, so there won't actually be an essay. And while the math on the new SAT will include Algebra II, the PSAT still only has geometry and algebra I.
This is from their site:
"If you are a junior and are concerned about connecting with colleges to receive information, you will have another opportunity to supply information for the Student Search Service by completing the Student Descriptive Questionnaire when you register for the SAT.
If you missed taking the PSAT/NMSQT in your junior year, you may still be able to enter programs conducted by National Merit Scholarship Corporation if you meet other requirements to enter the NMSC competitions (published in the PSAT/NMSQT Student Bulletin and on NMSC's Web site ). To request information about alternate testing after the October PSAT/NMSQT administration, write to NMSC as soon as possible but no later than March 1 following the PSAT/NMSQT administration that was missed. Your letter must be postmarked on or before March 1 for your request to be considered."
|By Idler (Idler) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 11:24 am: Edit|
I think the PSAT represents a more candid snapshot of whatever it is those ETS tests test for than the SAT, which is tutored, studied for, taken and retaken and taken again by so many. I note that while the official ETS line is that PSAT scores are not reported to colleges, many, including Harvard, ask for them.
|By Xdad (Xdad) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 11:24 am: Edit|
1. There is no essay on the 2004 PSAT.
2. In addition to the two regular dates discussed above, you can make special arrangements for extraordinary circumstances. It is not meant to accomodate people with scheduling conflicts for sports, choir, State Fairs, etc. but for serious issues like illnesses. It does, however, open a door for a potential rescheduling.
3. Everything considered, the best idea would be to take it at another school on the regular day and skip the regular school day.
|By Nedad (Nedad) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 11:43 am: Edit|
Thanks everyone - you've given me a lot to think about, and a lot more information from which to make an informed choice. CC is the greatest!
|By Thoughtfulmom (Thoughtfulmom) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 01:54 pm: Edit|
Idler: I note that while the official ETS line is that PSAT scores are not reported to colleges, many, including Harvard, ask for them.
I'm not sure what you mean by "ask for them."
Harvard asks for ACT or SAT I & II scores, AP scores, and TOEFL scores on their application. They certainly don't ask for PSAT scores. I've never seen any college application that asked students for PSAT scores.
Now, it is true that many colleges ask ETS for a mailing list of all students who scored above a particular PSAT threshhold that interests them, combined with other target demographics (e.g., class rank, GPA, region of the country, zipcode, gender, race, intended major, etc.) They can then use this mailing list for marketing purposes. It is NOT used for admissions purposes however. (Of course, the students on the mailing lists provided by ETS are restricted to those who checked the YES box in response to the "Is it okay to share your name and address with interested colleges?" on the PSAT application. Many students choose to check NO because they don't care to be inundated with junk mail.)
Under the circumstances described by the original poster, I don't see that there's any big deal to skipping the PSAT. If you are reasonably certain that your student has no chance of scoring high enough to qualify for NM honors, I can't see why s/he should give up any other important activities scheduled for those days to take yet another standardized test.
There are lots of ways to get practice for the SATs. Indeed the ETS releases copies of the PSAT exam booklets to the guidance counselors after the exam is over, so the student could even take one unofficially just for practice.
|By Idler (Idler) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 02:18 pm: Edit|
Thoughtfulmom: Harvard asked for them last year, maybe in the mid year report. They are not required, just as ap scores are not required, but they are requested, and therefore presumably considered. Other colleges ask for but do not require them as well. I'm not saying you can't do without them. And yes, it is possible to practice for PSATs, but few do it, beyond taking a practice PSAT in soph year--but it's nothing compared to SAT prep.
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 02:19 pm: Edit|
I think we may have discussed this long ago, but I'm curious about the comment made above that the PSAT is often not a good indicator of what spring SAT scores will end up looking like.
Just wondering - senior parents and college parents - what was your experience with this? How close was the PSAT score to the final SAT score your child ended up submitting to colleges? Up down or about the same?
|By Cangel (Cangel) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 02:26 pm: Edit|
Current senior parent:
Daughter sick on PSAT day, would never have had her take the test, had I known then that there were other options.
Missed semifinalist by 2 points - SAT much higher (over 100 points combined), minimal prep for each, big reader.
|By Idler (Idler) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 02:34 pm: Edit|
Carolyn: PSAT V80 M75,SAT V770 M800, PSAT wr70, SATII Wr 800, all taken once.
|By Momof2inca (Momof2inca) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 02:34 pm: Edit|
This is true. S was just offered a full ride to University of Tulsa based on his PSAT test. Over four years, it's worth $90K. Not bad for a two hour test!
|By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 03:01 pm: Edit|
S's PSAT scores (October) correlated closely with his SAT scores (March) and SATII scores (June).
|By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 03:16 pm: Edit|
You may skip the PSAT. Some highschools may have some requirements about this, so I would check with the GCs there. I know ours does not--the test is given on a Saturday and though the cost and registrations are taken care of by the school, there is no penalty for not showing up.
|By Over30 (Over30) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 03:17 pm: Edit|
S's first SAT (Jan 04) was lower than PSAT (Oct 03) by 50 points. Second SAT (Oct 04) higher by 30 points. His PSAT score junior year was 40 points higher than sophomore year. He scored the same on PSAT and SAT writing (June). He took the test sophomore year cold. Junior year he took a class at school (two Sat. mornings), and did a couple of practice tests.
My sophomore son is trying for a very good score on his PSAT this month, hoping it will help him get into a summer program that takes mostly juniors. There's no requirement that he submit this score, but he thought a very high score might help his application. He hasn't even looked at any test prep yet, so we'll see.
|By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 03:25 pm: Edit|
Son took took both the PSAT and SAT one time only. PSAT was taken as a sophomore, and SAT I taken as a junior. Minimal prep was done for both. SAT score was about 100 points higher.
(3 SAT II's taken senior year I think)
|By Massdad (Massdad) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 03:44 pm: Edit|
The PSAT is changing this fall:
The college board has data regarding how kids do on the SAT compared to the PSAT:
Regarding PSAT score reporting, I just confirmed with my D's former HS (which sent 12 kids to Harvard this past fall) that NO college has EVER asked for PSAT scores, except for a rare request from a HBC. Maybe Idler is confusing Harvard with HBC? Both begin with "H"...
|By Idler (Idler) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 03:51 pm: Edit|
Well, I looked it up, and Harvard does ask for psat and any additional ap scores on the midyear report: if you have a copy of this doc, as I do, you can look it up too.
|By Searchingavalon (Searchingavalon) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 04:50 pm: Edit|
Carolyn: D's PSAT and SAT scores were nearly exactly the same, as was her SATII score in writing. So for her, yes, the PSAT was an indicator of her scores on the other tests.
|By Xdad (Xdad) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 05:29 pm: Edit|
There is little rhyme or reason in the differences between PSAT scores and SAT scores. Some can be attributed to the various levels of preparation for the PSAT and the SAT, and some to the relative difficulty of the individual tests.
Example one: PSAT and SAT scores are identical ... student and family claim the PSAT is a good indicator.
Example two: SAT scores improve by about 100-150 points over the converted math/verbal PSAT scores ... student and family claim that the PSAT is a good indicator because student as a rising senior did better on the SAT than he did as a rising junior, and scored a reasonable increase.
Example three: SAT score is about 10% LOWER ... and the College Board, according to the chart posted by Massdad, says that the score falls in the EXPECTED window (as a 60 PSAT would yield a 550-650 SAT), and claims it is a good predictor.
Conclusion, no matter how close or how different the PSAT/SAT scores end up, everybody seems to claim it to be a good predictor of the SAT scores. What is the reality? Except for students who are expected to score in the MNF range, most students would earn VERY different scores if they took the Saturday versus Tuesday test in the same year. The reason is that PSAT may share the format with the SAT, but its contents and difficulty are far less homogeneous than the SAT. The PSAT seems to contain more questionable questions, especially in the verbal sections. Because it is supposed to have a younger audience, the test is supposed to be easier, but that is not always the case.
|By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 05:37 pm: Edit|
Idler is right about Harvard asking for PSAT scores in the Midyear report.
|By Xdad (Xdad) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 05:46 pm: Edit|
As far as Harvard asking for the PSAT scores ... the ambiguity might stem from the fact that the mid-year report has a space to provide PSAT scores. That does not mean that there is a requirement to provide the score. There is a space for the ACT results, and it is ovbious that a student who provides SAT/SAT-II scores might not have an ACT score or elect not to share his ACT score.
Harvard clearly spells out what scores ARE required.
|By Idler (Idler) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 09:18 am: Edit|
Thanks , Marite.
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 09:27 am: Edit|
What is confusing about the Harvard request for PSAT on the Mid-year report is that Harvard does not ask for it elsewhere. One would have assumed that students applying would have already taken the PSAT in their junior year and that score would be available at the time of application, including Early Action. So why is it considered useful to have in February but not earlier?
|By Idler (Idler) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 09:49 am: Edit|
Perhaps because even though there's a general agreement not to ask for PSAT scores on the application, they think that it's a valuable piece of evidence, so they slip it in later. As many CCers know, they make heavy use of PSAT scores in their recruiting efforts, sending in late Spring a heavy viewbook, an application, and a "personal" invitation to apply to high PSAT scorers. For the record, I spelled out above that it is not required, but requested, so obviously considered a worthile piece of evidence by them.
|By Massdad (Massdad) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 09:54 am: Edit|
To repeat, a school that would be considered a feeder school to Harvard does NOT provide PSAT scores. The head of guidance there knows the Harvard adcoms well (and the headmaster of the school knows the Harvard admissions dean well, too), so I suspect they have a pretty good idea of what Harvard wants to know.
This school does not provide PSAT scores to any college, and does not list them on the transcript.
Given what we know about administration problems with the PSAT, an issue amply discussed elsewhere, this approach makes sense.
Maybe the answer is that Harvard is willing to look at the scores if someone provides them, much like AP scores?
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 09:56 am: Edit|
They can get the PSAT information from CB, like all other colleges. It cannot be of much use to know the PSAT scores of past applicants.
My S, who's been taking many Harvard courses and scored high on PSAT, must be one person who's never got a viewbook, application, "personal" invitation to apply, etc...
|By Idler (Idler) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 10:01 am: Edit|
Hey Massdad, if you're going make fun of my attempt to provide accurate information, and marshall evidence from a higher authority to prove I'm mistaken, why don't you admit you, and they, were wrong?
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 10:19 am: Edit|
Xdad, I'm not sure I read what you wrote correctly. Were you saying there is some sort of difficulty difference between taking the saturday PSAT and the during the week PSAT that has been statistically correlated? Or just that more people take it on a particular testing date (Saturday vs. weekday) and therefore your chances of being in a higher percentile are lower or vice versa? For some reason, I assumed that the same test was given on both days (which in thinking about it doesn't really make sense). Yet, NMS decisions are based on both tests even if different?
|By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 10:26 am: Edit|
Don't some schools like to boast about the number of NM finalists and commended scholars that they have in their entering freshmen class? I think even some of the college guides publish the information to boost the credentials of their past applicants in order to make their institutions look more attractive to future applicants.
I just pulled out the Peterson's Guide to Competitive colleges(2003-2004) and this statistic is indeed listed for some (not all) schools. This is some publication that we received in the mail. We didn't purchase it, but we glanced at it quickly along with the rest of the college junk mail. Bragging about high PSAT scores and NM recognition may just be another statistical marketing tool used by some schools. They also list the number of valedictorians, class rank, etc.
Probably not the case for Harvard, but it could be a factor for some other schools that may request PSAT information.
|By Massdad (Massdad) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 01:27 pm: Edit|
If your "accurate information" = misleading information, I WILL speak up.
To the degree that your "accurate informaiton" leads even one parent to believe that Harvard values PSAT scores, and therefore leads that parent to make a decision not in the best interest of their kid, I will speak up.
You may not have intended your factoid to be misleading. Indeed, I may be the only one mislead. That does not change the fact that one HS with a good admissions track record does not report PSAT scores to anyone but the test taker, and this school does not, obviously, attach much importance to the score.
The CB does not give PSAT scores to any college. They will provide lists based on the criteria provided by the college. Harvard's recruiting, or any others' for that matter, is based on the profile they submit, not just PSAT scores.
Yes, schools like to brag about the number of NM finalists etc. It's even stranger when you realize how broad the range is for scores to qualify. Last time I looked, the lowest was a SI of around 204, the highest 222. A huge difference. So, comparing the number of NM finalists among schools has a real risk of an apples to oranges comparison.
|By Ellemenope (Ellemenope) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 01:39 pm: Edit|
One place my D found the PSAT helpful (besides NMS designations): she applied in Jan/Feb of her junior year for a competitive lab experience to take place in the summer after her junior year. The application asked for standardized testing scores (PSAT/SAT if available). It was another piece of information for them to use.
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 01:54 pm: Edit|
Massdad and Idler:
Here comes the peacekeeping force: You're both right.
Harvard asks for PSAT on the Mid-Year Report as well as ACT and SAT), but does not require it and thus, many schools probably do not report PSAT socres.
|By Idler (Idler) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:06 pm: Edit|
Massdad:I'm impressed by your high sense of your mission. I'm sure your D's school is a wonderful, powerful place, and I'm sure that they don't report PSAT scores, just like every lowly high school doesn't. But if Harvard doesn't value the information, why do they ask for it? What's not "accurate" is your denial of a simple fact, then your contemptuous reduction of "fact" to "factoid." Does that mean it's not a fact? I fail to see what's misleading about the simple statement that Harvard asks students what their PSAT scores were on the mid-year report.
|By Massdad (Massdad) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:18 pm: Edit|
"I fail to see what's misleading about the simple statement that Harvard asks students what their PSAT scores were on the mid-year report."
Can we agree that we have different views? Can we agree that any statement is subject to interpretation and implication? Can we agree that we disagree regarding what "ask" means? Can we move on? We're not looking for WMD, after all.
|By Xdad (Xdad) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:25 pm: Edit|
Since a part of this conversation involves splitting hair, I'd like to jump in with a few comments of my own.
1. I am wondering about Idler's position and the purported differences between "requested" and "required'. As far as I am concerned, anyone can -and should- flatly ignore the "request" for PSAT scores. A request that can be ignored presents little validity to the school.
My conclusion: Massdad has it right and the PSAT should not be important to Harvard nor should it be relevant in the admission process. That said, the school has it on file, albeit more than probably in an non-official format.
2. An invitation to submit the PSAT scores shows up in an additional place and in the regular application: in Part II of the school report under the transcript heading! The explanation is rather simple ... most high schools routinely attach the PSAT/SAT scores to their official transcript. The guiding element is that the scores reported by the school are not official and are entirely optional. The only offical parts of the High School transcript are the grades and profile. As a matter of fact, I would encourage everyone to instruct your high school to NOT report the PSAT/SAT scores, and challenge them if they insist to do it. Remember that it is NOT their information and that the high school is not responsible for the accuracy of the score reporting. So, why run an additional risk by leaving information in the hands of mostly incompetent offices?
|By Idler (Idler) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:38 pm: Edit|
|By Over30 (Over30) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:42 pm: Edit|
Or at the least check your transcript and make sure the scores reported are correct.
|By Xdad (Xdad) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:54 pm: Edit|
Carolyn, I apologize for the unclear statement.
My contention is that the same student who would take both tests in the same year could score quite differently, despite having the same aptitude and preparation. The weekday and weekend tests are different administrations. This a different story than the "make-up" SAT tests given on Sunday (for religious reasons) or the extra-time tests (for medical reasons); such tests have been reported to be identical to the previously administered tests, a practice that is highly questionable.
Please realize that this "contention" is not based on a scientific sample or ETS data. It is simply based on an analysis of the performance of two students taking 10 official PSAT tests from the past 6 years. The variances in performance were more attributable to the degree of difficulty and number of questionable questions appearing in the test than to variances in knowledge or test aptitude. An interesting tidbit is that a similar exercise on the SAT did not result in substantial variances.
My general -and unverified- claim is that ETS does not apply the same rigor, verification, and equating criteria to the PSAT than it does with the SAT. One telling fact is that it will be extremely hard to find a question on any SAT that has been successfully challenged, a fact that has occured several times with the PSAT. I also believe that advanced identification programs like CTY have recognized this as well since they rely on SAT tests rather than on PSAT tests. For what it is worth, I do think that the P in PSAT stands for "Poor version"
|By Momof2inca (Momof2inca) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 05:34 pm: Edit|
You said, "My S, who's been taking many Harvard courses and scored high on PSAT, must be one person who's never got a viewbook, application, "personal" invitation to apply, etc..."
My S, who is NM semi-finalist did not get a viewbook automatically either.
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 07:28 pm: Edit|
The funny thing is, of course, that we live practically on Harvard's doorstep, not in CA!
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