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PSAT V SAT

barbthewarriorbarbthewarrior 67 replies12 threads Junior Member
I'll be taking the PSATs in about a year (just finished freshman year). How much better can I hope/expect to do on the SAT v the PSAT?
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Replies to: PSAT V SAT

  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 2152 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Sadly it's hard to say. Often the PSAT that many take can be off by a bit making the curve steeper or too easy. You can see the % but that doesn't necessarily translater 1:1. I don't know why they use a different rubric. Would make much more sense to use the same one. So you can get a 98% and see the rough estimates of your future 98% SAT scores but some scores go up.
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 3447 replies78 threads Senior Member
    The PSAT 10 is taken in sophomore year. You take the PSAT test in the fall of your junior year. Of course you can take it earlier, but it won't count for NMSF status.

    The score you get on any PSAT *IS* theoretically what you would earn on the SAT. Your SAT score can be improved with test prep or with the increased knowledge that comes with time/additional schooling. That is actually expected to happen, thus the difference in the top possible score. How much better you can do, then, largely depends on you.
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  • barbthewarriorbarbthewarrior 67 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Thanks guys! I was thinking about the extra math the SAT covers.
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  • helpingmom40helpingmom40 250 replies7 threads Junior Member
    D20 is not a math kid at all! She saw a 120 point increase from the PSAT in 10th grade to 11th grade, 94th percentile to 97th. Her first SAT score 2 months later was nearly identical but the 94th percentile again. Her last score, 6 months later, was another 110 point increase, 98th percentile, but almost all in the language section. That was after working with a private math tutor from spring of 10th to spring of 11th. I think the biggest difference in the math score came from finishing Algebra 2 at the end of 10th grade. I think it has to do with where you are in your math studies. If you haven’t finished Algebra 2, there will be room for improvement. If you are beyond that, it won’t matter very much.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 2275 replies36 threads Senior Member
    Tables 4 and 5 can show you the average gains from 10th PSAT to 11th PSAT to final SAT, by scoring level. https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/pdf/sat-suite-growth-estimates.pdf

    The PSAT is theoretically what you would get on the SAT *on that same date*. Students continue to learn and improve across the board over 1 to 2 years. 120-140 points seems to be a typical 10th to Final SAT improvement, just eyeballing the data.

    The vast majority of math on the SAT is Based on topics through Algebra 1 and Geometry. If you haven’t completed those by the time you take the first test, then you may have additional improvement opportunity. There’s very little, if any, material from Algebra 2, Trig, etc.

    (Fwiw, the percentile to numeric score algorithms are always consistent, so don’t pay attention to “tough curve, easy curve” interpretations that constantly arise.)
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 2152 replies18 threads Senior Member
    My kid just took the first sample test to prep for the SAT or at least find where the baseline is. The biggest thing was Alg I, which hadn't been taken by my student in about 4 years. Will have to go back and look at the easier things which have partially been forgotten.
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 2152 replies18 threads Senior Member
    @Groundwork2022 My kid took PSAT in the Fall of Sophomore year. Was going to take the PSAT in the Spring ( since the Fall test seemed to have some issues with it. It had a very steep curve due to some revisions) but Covid hit. The Fall PSAT was NOT a direct correlation to the SAT as the top score was not 800 but something else ( maybe 760 or something). I don't have it in front of me.

    For my kid this made it very hard to discern what the SAT what likely to be. There is a huge variation in scores even in the top %. So a 98/99% can translate into a lot of different final SAT scores. That's why I commented re: correlation. Not trying to be picayune but just was aggravated that the scores were not on an 800 scale.
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  • barbthewarriorbarbthewarrior 67 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Yeah, I checked and it's 160-760. Dunno why.
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 3447 replies78 threads Senior Member
    From PrepScholar:

    "Your PSAT score is meant to directly predict your SAT score. So if you get 1200 on the PSAT, you can expect to get roughly the same score if you took the SAT without further preparation.

    Why the different score ranges, though? Because the PSAT is a little less challenging (so as to accommodate a lower grade level), a perfect score on the PSAT falls a little short of a perfect score on the SAT."
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 2152 replies18 threads Senior Member
    @Groundwork2022 Well, I think that it's predictive to the extent that a kid who get a top score on the PSAT will get a top score on the SAT but since you have 760 and 800 as final top scores it isn't predictive in the sense that a 1300, or 1000, or 1400 is predictive of the same on the SAT. And the % matters more than the actual score.
    Honestly, I find it stupid and confusing not to have the same numerical equivalent. 40 points on either side Math or English is quite a bit. Some kids as Juniors can get that 800 score on an SAT. The test was designed eons ago and has been tweaked many times. Kids are often taking it as Sophomores just to get a feel for it.
    Prep scholar might think it's direct but others might not. After all they are selling test prep so have some skin in the game.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 2275 replies36 threads Senior Member
    It’s not Prep Scholar claiming a PSAT score would map to an SAT score, it’s College Board, who owns the tests.

    The PSAT is less difficult than the SAT, the the best one can demonstrate on the test is 760 capability. If the hardest questions are 760-level, then answering them all means you can score a 760. Yes, you may be able to score an 800 on the SAT, but the PSAT does not have questions to determine that. All tests have ceilings. Think of 760 as “760 or higher” if you'd like.

    It’s really no different than the SAT. An IMO Gold Medalist still isn’t going to score higher than 800.

    (fwiw, the test given in the Spring is the PSAT10. The PSAT is only given in October).
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  • MWolfMWolf 2597 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Every test you take in real conditions will help you with the next test. Depending on how your math, English and science courses are set up, the increases can be pretty high. My D increase 100 from the first PSAT 10 in fall sophomore year to the a PSAT 10 the next spring, another 80 points increase to the PSAT/NMSTQ, and another 70 points increase to the SAT. No prep classes, minimal prep. It was all the result of increased familiarity with the test format, and with the stuff she learned in the classroom.

    So most students score higher on the SAT than on the PSAT, especially if they are taking pre-calc and advanced English classes over this period.
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  • CCEdit_SurajCCEdit_Suraj 88 replies162 threads Editor
    @barbthewarrior This is a great question -- we recently covered this topic in a College Confidential article, which you can find here:https://insights.collegeconfidential.com/should-you-take-the-psat
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 2152 replies18 threads Senior Member
    @CCEdit_Suraj That's a useful link.

    Honestly, I can't see any reason why a Sophomore would not take the PSAT for test prep purposes ( short of financial difficulties which may/may not be waivable).

    I agree with @MWolf , most kids seem to score higher on the SAT or even the PSAT10 due to just taking normal classes. But some also take SAT prep or do it online.

    Some kids need to review the math section ( if they took Alg I /Geo years ago) and some just haven't had the material yet. The Math section doesn't go to a very high level so it should be feasible for kids to study for it. The English section would seem to be a bit tougher to improve. I think it's amazing that there are free resources to pinpoint areas of weakness that kids can do. Wish they had that 30 years ago!
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  • barbthewarriorbarbthewarrior 67 replies12 threads Junior Member
    edited June 30
    @Happytimes2001 i FULLY intend to take them next spring. :). And Geometry will be fresh in my mind.
    edited June 30
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 2152 replies18 threads Senior Member
    @barbthewarrior That's great. Make sure you can take them at your school or have other arrangements. I thought one could take them anytime/anywhere. That's not the case. PSAT's are usually arranged by the school and often they either do the Fall version or the PSAT/10 in the Spring.
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  • cherry_creme174cherry_creme174 12 replies9 threads Junior Member
    I think it totally depends on the person. I took the PSAT 8/9 and the SAT in 8th grade and got a 1390/1440 and a 1350/1600 respectively, with a 40 point drop from my expected score.
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  • havenoideahavenoidea 377 replies17 threads Member
    The PSAT favors those who are better in English, counting that section 2x the math.

    With none of our kids did their PSAT = SAT, which they all took about a month later (whenever the 1st 11th grade test was). For instance, our 1400 PSAT kid got a 1520 sat (800m/720e). And, he’d gotten more English questions wrong on the practice PSAT the year prior (math not the problem) but got a higher score that year of 1430. That’s the curve issue someone said doesn’t exist.

    My advice would be to practice taking SATs, and use free online prep, and take the August SAT before taking the official PSAT, so you’ll hopefully make national merit, and then you’ll also be ready for the junior SAT. I think our kid who made several mistakes on the PSAT might not have if he’d gotten his nerves out on a low stakes SAT first.

    Then, if you want/need a higher score, a tutor does help, if you can afford it. Our other 2 kids did tutoring and ended up pulling much lower practice psats (in the mid 1200s) up to the non-tutoring kid’s SAT level.
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  • evergreen5evergreen5 2013 replies38 threads Senior Member
    edited July 9
    havenoidea wrote: »
    The PSAT favors those who are better in English, counting that section 2x the math.
    You may be thinking of the Selection Index. The PSAT section scores are 760 (total) for Evidence Based Reading and Writing and 760 for Math.
    edited July 9
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