Does the PSAT really matter?
Just a couple weeks ago the PSAT scores were released for high schoolers and parents to see. Even though many schools give it as part of a regular curriculum, not all students take it seriously. However, the PSAT can be seriously useful.
The PSAT, or Preliminary SAT, is a guiding tool that helps high school students across the country prepare for the SAT. While practically every student takes the PSAT, not all students know how to improve their scores. If a student does not prepare correctly, all of the effort will go to waste when taking the SAT later on. Therefore, students need to know how they need to prepare, regardless of how much they want to increase his or her scores.
The PSAT is not just a diagnostic test for students before they take the SAT. It has real-world consequences l. With the PSAT, a student with a high-enough score can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program, which can help pay the way through university. With the price of university so high, and the future so uncertain, for so many students, even a little financial compensation can go a long way.
In addition, the PSAT is not a one-time test, at least it does not have to be. While many students are satisfied with their scores, students in the 10th grade can choose to re-take the PSAT in the 11th grade, in the hopes of increasing their scores. This is an excellent strategy for students whose ambition currently exceeds their academic ability. For high school students, it is never too early to prepare for the PSAT, since it is such an important test.
While the PSAT is objectively easier than the SAT, and it is scored on a different scale (320-1520 for the PSAT and 400-1600 for the SAT), students should use the PSAT as a “warning system.” Students who find an issue with a section of the PSAT should drill extensively in that subject matter so they can improve before taking the SAT. Alternatively, for students with high PSAT scores, even though it is an easier test than the SAT, their success can be a good motivator to do well later when they take the SAT.
All in all, while the PSAT and SAT are related in breadth and scope (with the exception of an Essay section), but not difficulty, students should attempt to do as well as possible on both tests in order to maximize their academic potential.
Here is some advice for students who are wondering whether they should prepare:
- The SAT is only part of your college application. There are cases of students who have perfect scores who are rejected from top schools because, while academically excellent, their overall applications are bland. Therefore, you should seek to excel in multiple areas in life, especially in high school academics, while preparing to take the SAT and fill out your college applications.
- The knowledge will help you later on. Whether you are looking for English help or Math help, the preparation that you do now will prepare you for the rigors of college. While the PSAT does not have an Essay component, the SAT does. Therefore, students who want to develop better writing practices before taking the SAT should do so, regardless of their PSAT scores. It will be easier to develop yourself academically now, than to wait until a month before a paper is due in college. Even if you have good PSAT scores, you should not take a chance on the SAT.
- Meet with a student coach. We are able to pick out academic strengths and weaknesses that you can improve upon but did not recognize. Some examples include time management, organization, or even grammar. Even if you meet with a student coach only a few times, you will grow stronger as a student.
- Standards change all the time for colleges and universities. Your PSAT score may be good for your college of choice, but there is still time for them to reconsider scores in your range. If you do not study for the SAT with rigor, and you get a score similar to the one you got on the PSAT, you may find that your application is denied due to changing academic standards. You should not leave such an important decision to fate.
- The SAT is also great for your resume. As a high school student, you do not have much work experience or volunteering experience. When you are in the beginning of your career, you will likely put your grades on your resume because it shows you can retain and apply information. A high SAT score can help you get a desirable job while working your way through college.
If you are interested in how much you can improve academically before you take your SAT, you should consider hiring a tutor. We can help analyze your academic profile and find areas of improvement. Take advantage of our years of experience and ability and become the best darn student you can, all in time for the SAT. The SAT may define your future so it is best that you get the highest score possible. Good luck!
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