El Segundo High School

PSAT scores released

As a high school junior, my classmates and I took the redesigned PSAT in October 2015. This past week, scores for the test were released, and students across the nation could see how they scored. If you have a College Board account you can access your scores online now.  If not, you will need to wait until the end of January for your school counselor to give you a paper copy of your score.

The PSAT this year was based on a redesigned SAT test that will launch in the spring of 2016, with the last date for the old SAT to be in January of 2016.  Here are notable aspects of the new PSAT you will want to understand:

  • The old PSAT and SAT took fractions of a point away for wrong answers, the new PSAT and SAT does not do that.
  • The new SAT goes back to a scale of 1600 instead of the current 2400 scale.  Thus, the new PSAT coordinates with the new SAT, but instead of having a 1600 scale, it has a 1520 – why? I do not know, and frankly, I find this very confusing!
  • This is a bit hard to follow, but the 1520 maximum score is calculated by giving you a score for the Math section ranging from 160-760, and a score for combined reading and writing of 160-760; by adding both sections you will earn a total score of 320-1520. In the past there was a score for reading and a separate score for writing, and also a score for math, now reading and writing are combined, and Math remains a separate section. This means that all three sections no longer have equal weight in the overall composite score. Instead, Math will make up half the total score (up to 760) while the reading and writing sections will make up the other half together (up to 760), for a total score of up to 1520.
  • The PSAT has historically been the statistic used to qualify for National Merit Scholar (NSMC).  The official cutoff scores to qualify will not be announced until mid-September of 2016. A student will need to have earned in the top 50,000 scores in the nation to qualify as a National Merit Scholar, and as in the past, the qualifying score varies state-by-state.
  • You can utilize the “Skills Insight” tab in your College Board account to analyze your current skills and what you need to focus on to improve your skills.
  • On the College Board website you can get free practice questions for the newly designed SAT via the Khan Academy, accessed at khanacademy.org/sat.
  • You can use your PSAT score to calculate you’re your likely ACT or SAT score by using a converter found at tutorted.com. I found this very helpful, and made the new PSAT score seem real in terms of how I will do on tests used for college admissions.

To all of my fellow high school juniors in Los Angeles, and across the nation, I wish you the best as you take your SAT, ACT, AP’s, SATII’s. This is a big year for all of us because of the full focus and stress we work toward college acceptances. I hope your PSAT score will help guide you all in achieving your potential in terms of these tests!