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How important are the PSATs?

JoeFahey

Platinum Member
Jan 15, 2005
2,163
1
0
I am a junior in high school, and this was my second time taking it. Last year was optional. I did exceptionally well last year, and even though we don't get our scores for today's PSAT under December, I think I did a lousy job.
I used to think that the PSAT was just a complete practice test for the SAT. But now I am hearing that colleges will look at the PSAT with the SAT, and that you can recieve scholarships through the PSAT. What do you know about the PSAT?
 

SirChadwick

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2001
4,595
1
81
As far as I can remember these are not very important at all and colleges just look at SAT and ACT scores. It just helps you prepare for the SAT and that's basically it... I was an idiot the first time I took the PSAT and cheated - hmmm, where did that get me? lol.
 

Tiamat

Lifer
Nov 25, 2003
14,074
4
71
i have never heard of psat being important for anything other than prepare you for the sat.
 

Triax

Member
Jan 29, 2005
70
0
0
i dont believe colleges will look at your PSATs unless you want them too. The test qualifies you for scholarships/awards which could be helpful as you apply for college next year
 

mugs

Lifer
Apr 29, 2003
48,900
10
81
It can help you get a scholarship if you do well enough (NMSQT finalist or semi-finalist)
 

sash1

Diamond Member
Jul 20, 2001
8,897
1
0
Originally posted by: mugs
It can help you get a scholarship if you do well enough (NMSQT finalist or semi-finalist)
that's about all it's good for
 

mugs

Lifer
Apr 29, 2003
48,900
10
81
Originally posted by: sash1
Originally posted by: mugs
It can help you get a scholarship if you do well enough (NMSQT finalist or semi-finalist)
that's about all it's good for
That and practice for the SAT. The PSAT was a pretty good predictor of my SAT score.
 

dullard

Elite Member
May 21, 2001
22,986
1,239
126
Originally posted by: allisolm
National Merit Scholarships come from PSAT scores.
Yep. No one bothered to tell me that when I was young. The guidance councellors all came in and said the PSAT is a nothing/meaningless test. They said it was a preparation for the SAT only.

The PSAT came around and I just laughed my way through it. I never double checked anything. Then the scores came along. My guidance councellor was happy and called me in. She said that my score was higher than the National Merit Scholarship qualifying rscores in the previous 5 years - she said I would probably qualify. I didn't. I missed it by one question. The PSAT results came along and I noticed that I missed the first math question - identify the triangle (from a series of a square, circle, and something else).

WTF? How could I miss that question. Probably because I was told it was a meaningless test and I didn't double check that I filled in the right bubble. I potentially missed out on a valuable and prestigious scholarship based on that.

Oh well, I wasn't planning on that scholarship anyways because I hadn't heard of it. I got a full ride (plus cash back) in other methods.

Conclusion: PSAT is meaningless UNLESS you have skill in taking those bubble tests. Then it has lots of meaning.
 

GeneValgene

Diamond Member
Sep 18, 2002
3,887
0
76
PSAT IS WAY MORE IMPORTANT THAT SAT

don't listen to these people. a significant number of scholarships are dependent on PSAT, and most importantly national merit. if you want money for school, take PSATs very seriously
 

Dessert Tears

Golden Member
Feb 27, 2005
1,100
0
0
Originally posted by: JoeFahey
I am a junior in high school, and this was my second time taking it. Last year was optional. I did exceptionally well last year, and even though we don't get our scores for today's PSAT under December, I think I did a lousy job.
What's exceptionally well? Near perfect or 10+ points above the historical National Merit semi-finalist cutoff for your state? I believe that exceptionally high scores on standardized tests are correlated with accurate self-assessment. Unfortunately, that means that you're probably right that you did poorly. :(

As I recall, the PSAT Writing section is very similar to the SAT II Writing multiple-choice section - they may have even had overlap in the reading comprehension sections.

I think a good PSAT score can somewhat make up for a mediocre SAT score (though why not take the SAT repeatedly to improve that score, if it's a real weakness). Exceptional scores on both (e.g. PSAT 240, old SAT 1600) pack a little extra punch, but not much.

I haven't heard of any scholarships based on PSAT besides the National Merit ones already mentioned.
 

AndrewR

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
11,157
0
0
I got $8000 from my PSAT score because I made NMSQT finalist. I also had a full ride to school but was able to interpret the rules to allow me to use the money for a computer, upgrades for the computer, and a laser printer (before lasers were so common). ;)
 

b0mbrman

Lifer
Jun 1, 2001
29,471
1
0
Originally posted by: mugs
It can help you get a scholarship if you do well enough (NMSQT finalist or semi-finalist)
Yup. Some publications use the number/relative number of NMSQT finalists admitted as a criterion in ranking universities.

Of course, universities don't really care about rankings, right? ;)
 

hans030390

Diamond Member
Feb 3, 2005
7,326
2
76
I just took the PSAT today...so when I get my scores back, will they be SAT style (in the thousands) or just a few hundred? If in the hundreds, what kind of SAT score could I expect from my PSAT score? (how would I figure it out)
 

Dessert Tears

Golden Member
Feb 27, 2005
1,100
0
0
Originally posted by: hans030390
I just took the PSAT today...so when I get my scores back, will they be SAT style (in the thousands) or just a few hundred? If in the hundreds, what kind of SAT score could I expect from my PSAT score? (how would I figure it out)
Each has 3 sections (critical reading, math, writing). For each section, valid scores are 20-to-80 for the PSAT and 200-to-800 for the SAT. Thus, the maximum score on the PSAT is 240, and converting to SAT is just x10.
http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/psat/scores.html
 

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