The PSAT: What’s It REALLY All About?

The PSAT is administered to sophomores and juniors typically on the third Wednesday in October (and for some schools, on the third Saturday in October.) The purpose of the PSAT is to give students and parents an idea of what a score  could be on the SAT.  Usually, when students take the exam as sophomores they are truly unfamiliar with the content and nature of the test; and consequently, most do not score well. (I’ve had students go up as much as 250 points on the critical reading alone when they ultimately take the SAT!) When students take the exam again as juniors, they are more aware of the nature of the exam and  more mature in their cognitive thinking skills. That said, it’s a more accurate gauge of how they would score on the SAT. The junior PSAT is also used as one of the criteria for National Merit Scholarship. Should students prepare for the PSAT?  The ideal approach to test preparation is...
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Why Are College Entrance Exams (SAT or ACT) Necessary?

There's a lot of controversy about standardized testing, particularly the SAT. There's even a group, Fair Test, that has been trying to negate the value of the SAT in particular for years. That said, the tests are probably here to stay in one form or another – making primarily cosmetic changes to counter criticisms. (The last major change in the SAT in 2005, may have almost doubled the testing fee; however, it also precipitated the surge of ACT test-takers.) Do you understand why there is a need for standardized college entrance exams? If not, let's look at this way - do all teachers at your teen's school have the same standards for giving out grades? Of course not. That said, schools vary, counties vary, and states vary. Therefore, a standardized gauge – a college entrance exam - is necessary to measure critical reading, thinking and the problem solving skills that are necessary for college. That's why we often see a schism between...
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