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Class of 2020 National Merit Discussion

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Replies to: Class of 2020 National Merit Discussion

  • hashtagwhynothashtagwhynot 7 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Anyone know anything about Texas A&M's scholarship?
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  • chb088chb088 935 replies31 threadsRegistered User Member
    Will it really take until September to find out Commended status?! Any chance we might find out sooner?
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  • TXRunningMomTXRunningMom 299 replies18 threadsRegistered User Member
    @hashtagwhynot, My daughter graduates high school in May and will attend Texas A&M as a National Merit Finalist. She interviewed also for the Brown Scholarship (NMF requirement) and the Brockman (no NMF requirement) and got offers for both. With the Brown plus NMF, it is a full ride. The Brockman is a full ride of 4 years STEM plus 1 year Masters of Business. My daughter accepted the Brown for various reasons but both are excellent scholarships. I would be happy to answer questions at TAMU!
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  • TXRunningMomTXRunningMom 299 replies18 threadsRegistered User Member
    I'm curious...........for those of you whose children scored really well on their PSAT, did they do test prep? Do you recommend a SAT or a PSAT test prep? Any other advice? We had no clue about the importance of the PSAT when my daughter took hers so we were blessed for her to make NMF without any test prep. My son, though, love him to pieces, isn't quite the skilled test taker as his sister (he is very slow and meticulous; one of those OCD fill in the bubble perfectly types). He did really well somehow on his PSAT 8/9 but not so much on a practice ACT and SAT that his school did recently. I'm hopeful he might do well this October on the PSAT but I think he could use some study help with his time management especially.
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  • janiemirandajaniemiranda 354 replies18 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited March 15
    My daughter didn't prep much for the PSAT but she had done some studying for the ACT which she took in September. I think the ACT study helped her get the high PSAT score.
    edited March 15
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  • dpBU23dpBU23 61 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @TXRunningMom my son (223 SI in TX) did test prep for psat and I think it likely made a 2-4 point difference in his SI. Happy to share details but not trying to lobby for the place he went to. I think the specific program was useful but the main benefit was taking multiple, timed practice tests. He did another program for ACT peer (got a single score of 35.25) and I am confident the program made a 2-3 point composite difference. so while it is expensive, it more than paid for itself with the scholarship offers!
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  • lkg4answerslkg4answers 1589 replies189 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited March 15
    Mine was close based on the PSAT 10 so took a couple of sample tests. I wouldn't say she studied - more that she practiced pacing/timing. My first child wasn't close on the PSAT 10 so didn't do any practice before the PSAT/NMSQT and was far from NM. He prepped for the SAT in the spring and did very well.
    edited March 15
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  • WasIDreminWasIDremin 45 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My D school did test prep every week spring all the way up to the official psat. It made a 12 point difference so I am glad they put her through it.
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  • VryCnfsdVryCnfsd 128 replies10 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I can recommend the Khan Academy SAT test prep, at least for math. Don't know how it is for english. It is adaptive based on how you do, and free! My daughter improved her SI by more than 15 points by working 2-3 hours per week over the summer.
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  • TXRunningMomTXRunningMom 299 replies18 threadsRegistered User Member
    Thank y'all so much for your input! One more question now........ My son's PSAT 8/9 is based on a smaller scale with a total of 1440 points or 720 per section. Do I use the same equation to figure the SI? 2 times the English plus the math and knock off the zero at the end? If I do that, he only has a 194 even though the paperwork says that is 99% (that was originally why I thought he had a pretty good score). We are in Texas so he would need a 221 at least I'm guessing. Twenty-seven points is a huge reach! I don't see how it is possible even with taking a class to make the cut off in Texas.
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  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom 5499 replies336 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @TXRunningMom it's not so huge a leap when you factor in the increased maturity and familiarity with the test and timing. I second Khan, it's free;-) In the Austin area we really like More Than a Teacher for test prep. They cover some content but mainly test taking skills and time management as it relates to the psat/sat. They also provide unlimited free proctored practice testing. I believe is very helpful to practice under real testing conditions when ever possible. Remind your kiddo that any time spent studying for the PSAT is also time spent studying for the SAT so they are knocking out two things at once! For content, my kids found PWN the SAT helpful for math, they were all advanced for math so they really need to go back and review the basics and stop over thinking it! For Reading and and writing they liked the The Critical Reader and the Complete Guide to SAT Grammar both by Erica Meltzer.
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  • dpBU23dpBU23 61 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @TXRunningMom historically, large states do not have a large swing in PSAT SI so 220-222 is likely for texas. I believe you are calculating it correctly and if I understand, your S is a cureent sophomore who will take the real PSAT in the fall. While perhaps not impossible, 27 points is indeed a large swing for that short a time period. If we accept that it is possible with an incredible amount of work, I think you should ask if it’s worth this amount of work (potentially giving up much of his summer) for a 1-shot test. For example, is there an absolute dream school with huge NMF scholarships that he can only afford to attend if he gets NMF? If so, there is something to consider. If not, perhaps focus on act/sat test prep (tests he can retake and in some cases, superscore), getting good grades, doing community service, and having a life. my $0.02.
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  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom 5499 replies336 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited March 16
    @dpBU23 but it's NOT studying just for one test, any studying done for the PSAT *is* studying for the SAT it is not wasted on a one shot test. It is the same material and you use the same study guides, math is a little easier on the PSAT but that's it. If you are going to prep for the SAT anyway why not do it the summer between 10th and 11th grade so it works for *both* the PSAT and SAT?

    If I hear one more of my kids friends say, "I didn't study for the PSAT and only missed it by a point, guess I'll start prepping for the SAT now," I'll scream! My kids take the SAT for the first time in Spring of 10th grade prep over the summer as needed and take the PSAT and SAT again in Fall of 11th grade and then are done with testing where there peers often wait to take the SAT in Spring of 11th grade when they have to deal with AP exams and finals. We find it much better to complete testing early so kids can focus on grades and EC's. FWIW 2 or my 3 are NMF and my 2020 kid is likely to be NM too if they don't raise the TX cut off, if not, he's still looking at a very good merit scholarship to his first choice school based on the SAT score he got from prepping for the PSAT, grades and rank.
    edited March 16
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  • dpBU23dpBU23 61 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    hi @3scoutsmom i completely agree and am not suggesting it’s a waste of time. I am just suggesting to keep perspective. As mentioned in an earlier response, my S did prep for the psat and it was well worth it (as you rightly point out, for SAT as well. I am all about our students being accountable for greatness when they are gifted with the ability, I just hate to see (not suggesting that’s what’s happening here) people put pressure for potentially unrealistic outcomes.
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  • lkg4answerslkg4answers 1589 replies189 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Remember, he will have an additional year or two of math before taking the PSAT/NMSQT. I would see how much better he does on a non prepped PSAT 10 and use that as a guide. If he is closer to the SI he needs then it is worth a shot. Did he run out of time and rush at the end? If so, practice pacing. Did he not know some of the content and guessed? If so, study content. If he isn't close then don't worry about it and focus on the SAT/ACT 6-12 mos later.
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  • whataboutcollegewhataboutcollege 680 replies2 threadsRegistered User Member
    A lot of kids prepare for SAT/ACT during summer before Junior year and take in August/Sep/Oct time frame. If you do this, you do not need to worry about PSAT as it is just a simpler version. S20 was done testing June of sophomore year. I made him browsing through the PSAT pamphlet the weekend before the test. Luckily he still remembered most of the stuff he did 4, 5 months ago.
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  • VryCnfsdVryCnfsd 128 replies10 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @TXRunningMom I don't think you can just add the scores and knock off the zero for kids scoring in the top range. If so, then the max score would be 216 which doesn't qualify for NMF in most places!

    I would trust the 99the percentile more as to whether it is worth studying. Maybe better to think of it as he was 22 points away from perfect. If he scored 22 points away from perfect on PSAT, that would be 206, which is very close to what my D scored on her school-given PSAT practice. She got 223 after studying.

    At any rate, certainly possible. The bigger issue in my mind is how motivated he is, and as @dpBU23 suggests, what he would be giving up to study. My S scored higher on the practice, but refused to study over the summer and got about the same score when he took it again.
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  • TXRunningMomTXRunningMom 299 replies18 threadsRegistered User Member
    Thank you all for your thoughts and comments! We will look into the suggestions for Khan and PSAT coursework especially. He is motivated to study as UT Dallas and Texas A&M are his top 2 picks and they have nice NMF packages. He will give it a good shot and if nothing else, his SAT score will be higher than if he hadn't have tried for the NMF standing. If he somehow qualifies, it will be a miracle from God and we will take the blessing! :)
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  • drxxpressodrxxpresso 37 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @3scoutsmom - we’re in Austin and DD took a summer SAT/PSAT prep with MTAT. They definitely know their stuff. She’s a procrastinator, and I felt better knowing she was putting in the hours, though she claims she would have been fine doing practice tests on her own. She says practice tests are the most important part. @TXRunningMom - you have the right attitude. After scoring in the 1100’s as a freshman and a 1350 as a sophomore, I thought it was worth doing some prep and making a run at NM but wasn’t counting on anything. A lot of the math seemed to click taking pre-Calc sophomore year, she wound up with a 1490 (225 SI) She also did a bit of Magoosh online for ACT prep
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  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom 5499 replies336 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Great score @drxxpresso !!! We did MTAT for all three of my kids and thought it was well worth the time and money, I was also able to use their sibling discount and sign up with a friend rebate to bring the cost down. My kids are homeschooled until 9th grade and they had zero experience with standardized tests - they thought I was joking about completely coloring in the little circles! My youngest said much of what he learned helped him with the AP tests as well.
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