The SAT and PSAT are changing. While the College Board has studied and analyzed it, who really knows how it will affect scores. The first change will be this fall, with the PSAT in October 2015 being in the new format. These changes are supposed to reflect changes to the 2016 SAT. My daughter got a chance to try out the new format with the official PSAT Practice Test #1 (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) from the College Board….
Being a good reader is essential to coping with the massive amounts of homework that schools are assigning these days. And to get good at anything, you have to practice. The more you read, the faster you read. And if kids are going to read a lot, they do so voluntarily because they like it. Not because someone told them to read a book that “was good literature.”
If you don’t read children’s literature yourself, it might be hard to come up with some title ideas to give your kids. Until friends started asking, it didn’t occur to me how well equipped I was to suggest books to my kids when they started reading. But ultimately, the best test of a good kids’ book is if kids themselves like it. I’ve done a post over at The Mom Behind the Curtain that kicks of a series in which I list my the favorite books of my own kids. You can read more, at “My Kids’ 98 Favorite Books” .
Many students and parents right now are nervously awaiting the announcement of PSAT scores, the scores that will be used to determine qualification for National Merit Semi-finalists which will give them a chance at getting a National Merit Scholarship. How nervous? Really nervous. Just take a look over at the College Confidential forums. Even sophomores, who can’t qualify until next year, are nervous.
Of course, once the scores come out, everyone will still have to await the announcement of the cut-off scores for National Merit qualification. As we wait on those announcements, I’ve been thinking lately about what the number of National Merit Scholars mean s about the effectiveness of any one particular high school. Can you use the number of National Merit Scholars as a criteria for choosing a good high school?…
If you’re like a lot of high school students (or their parents), around this time of year you’re probably worrying about how you can improve your SAT score. If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’ve been questioning the worth of a lot of the standard advice you’re given for improving your chances of getting into college and being successful, but one thing I’ve found is that good SAT or ACT scores are still definitely important for college admission. This is one place that it’s still definitely worth your time to put in some effort. (For a information on schools that will even give you a full ride scholarship based on your SAT score, see the post What ACT or SAT Score Can Get You a Full-Ride Scholarship? by My Kid’s College Choice.)
I’m still working on setting up my blog specific to high school, college, and success, but my son just finished studying for the PSAT, which he took yesterday. (For the difference between the SAT and the PSAT, see What is the PSAT on DIY College Rankings.) His scores were already high, but even with private tutoring he’d reached a limit in his improvement. He was frustrated, so I did a lot of research into how to improve your SAT scores. And he did improve. To the point that he was capable of even perfect scores on practice sections. (In case you’re wondering, I was a National Merit Scholar, back in the day. 🙂 But we didn’t even consider him prepping for National Merit Scholar level until his practice test his sophomore year showed him to be within reach of the qualifying score.)
However, the more I dug into it, I realized that the quest for National Merit recognition now is like trying to get Olympic Gold. In the Olympics, all of the athletes have the skills, and top competitors are separated by fractions of a second. Different athletes will win on different days and some will crumble under the pressure. Same goes for the PSAT. It will be interesting to see if the new format of the PSAT has any effect.
But, if your quest is for high SAT scores or to raise your SAT score, it’s at least not a one day shot. And all your efforts studying for the PSAT will pay off when you take the SAT later….
AP classes and SAT scores can both be thought of as measurements of success factors for high school. But does one have an affect on the other?
As I mentioned my last post, we noticed a couple of things about our school district that indicated that our school was not preparing students as well as it could to take the SAT and the PSAT. So I started trying to figure out why. Not that I think the SAT is a perfect measure for learning, but it seemed like the level of achievement should at least stay the same….
So after deciding that we thought the full advanced placement courses class load was a treadmill to no-where that was increasing in speed, we started out with recommending our kids take partial AP loads. But, we found that our kids weren’t getting as much out of their classes. Maybe the path the school was recommending for top students – a full AP load – was the right one after all.
The problem is that the standard advice – given by all high schools – is to take as many preAP/AP courses as you possibly can. This means that most of the serious students are in the preAP/AP classes….
With the end of the school year approaching it may seem like an odd time to be thinking about what the required reading novels will be next year. But we recently had to fill out course selection sheets for all three kids, and the same questions always comes up. Do we let our kids sign up for preAP English knowing that the reading selections will be more “challenging”? Because in effect we have found what it really means is that the novels will be more disturbing….