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Old 01-25-2013, 11:50 PM   #1
andersonsc
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PSAT scores

My son (10th) grade got his PSAT score today. He recieved a 195. The counselor said the kid from his school this year that recived the national merit scholorship recieved around 225. He said my son has a great shot at doing better next year as a junior and getting the scholorship.

I think 30 points seems like a lot to improve in one year. The counselor said the kid this year that got the scholorship scored 40 points higher then last year.

Does anyone have experiance with their student doing that much better the 2nd time around. Don't want to get hopes up about being a national merit finalist if it is too far fetched to happen.
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Old 01-26-2013, 01:15 AM   #2
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Your son's score will naturally go up with another full year of math and English under his belt. He should study lots of vocabulary words.
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:08 AM   #3
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My DD took the PSAT last year as a sophomore and scored a 202. I might be off by a point or two. She took it again this fall as a junior and scored a 212. I thought It was the same test, but DD thought it was different and harder. She did well both times on the English and Reading, scoring in the 98th and 96th percentiles, but the math was not as high both times, so there was no way she was going to get near 240.

She took her first ACT test in December without any studying and got a 32 on the English section, but the math was a 27, so she needs to bring that score up. It is still a great score, but not enough to be competitive for a college program that she wants to apply for. She is taking the test again next month, and then up to two more times after that. I think it comes down to test practice skills. Looking at her math scores, she kind of gave up near the end and also started running out of time.

When DH took the SAT many moons ago, he scored in the 99th percentile and got a college scholarship. Back then it seemed like we all just took those tests once, unlike today where kids can now super score their multiple tests.
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:48 AM   #4
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Super scoring was new to me. I have a college freshman. Just wanted to add that not all schools super score.

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Originally Posted by IDoDis View Post
My DD took the PSAT last year as a sophomore and scored a 202. I might be off by a point or two. She took it again this fall as a junior and scored a 212. I thought It was the same test, but DD thought it was different and harder. She did well both times on the English and Reading, scoring in the 98th and 96th percentiles, but the math was not as high both times, so there was no way she was going to get near 240.

She took her first ACT test in December without any studying and got a 32 on the English section, but the math was a 27, so she needs to bring that score up. It is still a great score, but not enough to be competitive for a college program that she wants to apply for. She is taking the test again next month, and then up to two more times after that. I think it comes down to test practice skills. Looking at her math scores, she kind of gave up near the end and also started running out of time.

When DH took the SAT many moons ago, he scored in the 99th percentile and got a college scholarship. Back then it seemed like we all just took those tests once, unlike today where kids can now super score their multiple tests.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:15 AM   #5
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I apologize for hyjacking the thread, OP, but I have a PSAT question also:

DD is a freshman and just took the PSAT for the first time. I was shocked when a college letter came in the mail making vague comments about her excellent score (which was not as good as either of the other scores mentioned in this thread, for the record).
Do they really give these scores out? I just assumed it stayed between the school and the parents, it's only the PSAT. Are colleges really interested in the PSAT?? She's just a freshman and it's only a practice for the final tests... Honestly, I sort of wondered if it was a universal mailing and the wording was just a ploy to interest you.

I agree with you OP, I find it hard to believe the scores could go up so much in one year. By that standard, my kid would max out the test before her junior year, and I just don't see that happening. She works hard and tries her best, but she's not a genius. (Hmmm, did I just insult my kid? lol)
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:26 AM   #6
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OP, my son did about the same as your son did. He did go up a few points the next year but nothing significant. My neighbor's daughter, who is VERY bright also went up some; however, her percentiles went down in math even though her score was higher. They compare you against a different grade each year.

To the person who asked about the colleges sending mail. Yes, somehow when you start taking the standardized tests you start getting mail. Hmmmm...interesting isn't it. Not to be a killjoy, but this is PURE marketing and they are just starting their job of trying to get you interesting in applying. My oldest child did horrible on PSATs and she was still heavily marketed. It did make her feel better!
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christine View Post
OP, my son did about the same as your son did. He did go up a few points the next year but nothing significant. My neighbor's daughter, who is VERY bright also went up some; however, her percentiles went down in math even though her score was higher. They compare you against a different grade each year.

To the person who asked about the colleges sending mail. Yes, somehow when you start taking the standardized tests you start getting mail. Hmmmm...interesting isn't it. Not to be a killjoy, but this is PURE marketing and they are just starting their job of trying to get you interesting in applying. My oldest child did horrible on PSATs and she was still heavily marketed. It did make her feel better!
You'e not being a killjoy at all. That's sort of what I was thinking. Her scores were good, but not GREAT. That said, it did get my daughter a little excited. I think until that moment college felt a long way off. The letter made it much more "real" to her.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:04 AM   #8
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Rather than worry about a particular score, take a look at your son's percentile rankings. Those compare him with the other kids who took the test. (So, for example, if your son scored in the 96th percentile, it means he beat 96 percent of college bound sophomores who took the test.If he scored in the 5th percentile, it means he beat only 5 percent of those who took the test.) Everyone should expect their scores to go up from one year to the next, but those percentiles will probably increase much more slowly, as the entire grade level learns the same material.

I teach SAT prep, in additon to teaching high school math. Probably my favorite resource, and the one I got my niece for Christmas, (in addition to a real gift, of coruse!)was the book "Up your Score, an Insider's Guide to the SAT." It was written by a group of kids who did exceptionally well on the SAT, and is all about the strategies that help you beat the test. (My only complaint about the book is that it tries a little to hard to contain all possible pop references.)

Your son is obviously bright, and knows his math and Language Arts. I would concentrate now on test strategy.

Indimom: once your kids take any one of those college admission tests, expect a flood of mail, all praising you for raising the world's next prodigy. While your son or daughter may very well be incredibly gifted, he or she will very likely receive the same letter as the not-at-all-gifted, academically struggling kid next door.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:41 AM   #9
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I thought you could only take the PSAT your junior year in order to qualify? We were told that taking it earlier disqualified you for NMS.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:41 AM   #10
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Just reading along as I literally just dropped DS13 off to take the SATs! Nervous for him!!!
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Just reading along as I literally just dropped DS13 off to take the SATs! Nervous for him!!!
My son did the SATs as a 13 year old also. He really enjoyed doing it. His score was okay. He did MUCH better as a junior. I think they tell you that when you take it as a 7th/8th grader, you can add 400 points to that score and you will get an idea of how they will do as a junior. My son did WAY better than that, thank goodness. But I've read some things that some kids have done in 7th/8th grade and they are awesome scores.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
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I thought you could only take the PSAT your junior year in order to qualify? We were told that taking it earlier disqualified you for NMS.
hmm my son took it as a Sophomore and won a merit scholarship so I don't think that is true? But his scholarship was based off of his SAT scores. I always viewed the PSAT as the practice test.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
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I thought you could only take the PSAT your junior year in order to qualify? We were told that taking it earlier disqualified you for NMS.
According to their website, http://www.nationalmerit.org/entering.php, it appears that you can take the PSAT as a sophomore and then re-take it as a junior to be eligible for the scholarship competition.

Quote:
Although some schools encourage their sophomores to take the PSAT/NMSQT for guidance purposes, these students must take the test again when they are juniors to enter NMSC's competitions if they are spending the usual four years of study in grades 9 through 12.
It does sound, though, as if the school needs to sign you up differently depending on whether you are simply taking the PSAT or trying for the scholarship.

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Note: Because a student can participate (and be considered for a scholarship) in only one specific competition year, the year in which the student takes the PSAT/NMSQT to enter the competition is very important. If a student's high school standing and enrollment do not fit one of the preceding descriptions because the student plans to spend more than four years in high school, or for any other reason, contact NMSC immediately about whether the student can participate in an NMSC competition.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I thought you could only take the PSAT your junior year in order to qualify? We were told that taking it earlier disqualified you for NMS.
All sophomores at our HS take the PSAT. Doesnt' count for NMS, but there are certainly some who qualify when they take the second time as Juniors.
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:33 AM   #15
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My daughter was in a similar situation. We live in an area where one of the high schools always has as many National Merit finalists as the other high schools put together. This one high school offers prep courses each summer.

She was able to raise her scores by taking these course over two summers. She raised her average 30 points. She did make Commended scholar. According to her, she switched an answer and that answer was the difference between being Commended and a Semi-Finalist. She was right at the threshold that one year.

So, it can be raised that many points. However, I think it would be wise to avail yourself of any courses your school district might offer. I don't think many would be able to raise their points on self-study, but I'm sure there are people who have done it.
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