Friday, December 10, 2010

Reading the PSAT Scores

PSAT Update: the scores have arrived at area schools and will be reported to parents and students at various times depending on district and school policy.

Linda Auld, of Suburban Learning Center and a Mom's College Cram Course panelist, has some pointers to help all of us interpret the scores.

1. Look at both the Section Score (20-80) and the percentile score. The percentile will give you information as to how the score compares with other sophomores or juniors who took the test.

2. Identify some schools that you and your student may be considering. Are the section scores within the range of scores reported for accepted students? If so and you are satisfied with the score range, your student may need only to review test strategies before taking the next PSAT or the SAT. If not, you may need to consider whether you feel that a more intensive prep program would be worthwhile.

3. Look at the skill category sections. Are there specific sections that were difficult for your child? If so, practice should be geared to those specific areas.

4. Analyze the test question and answer section. Determine:
-- Did the student complete each section?
-- Were the incorrect answers on easy, medium or difficult questions?
-- How many questions were omitted? Were they easy, medium or difficult?
-- On the math portion, how did your student do with the grid-ins?

5. Look carefully at the test book. (If you did not receive it with the scores, contact your guidance counselor and ask for your child’s booklet.) Did your child use active reading strategies, such as underlining or note-taking? Did he/she eliminate answer choices by crossing them out in the booklet? Did he/she mark questions when uncertain of the answer so he/she could return to them if there was time left after finishing the section?

As Linda points out, "Careful analysis of the skill category sections will help you determine the type of preparation your child needs to undertake before the next round of testing."

Linda, thanks so much for these tips!

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