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why PSAT difference?

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Probably a little late now, but my son has been taking the PSAT Kaplan test book PSAT tests and scoring REALLY well. AS in, we are definitely ready. I also have the Gruber book and he took some tests in it and did MUCH worse... instead of 78 in math a 65???? It was that way in all the tests. Why??? Is Kaplan too easy??? I thought we were set, not I'm worried again.



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We haven't used PSAT books at all, but with the ACT, Kaplan was easier than Barron's. Barron's tends to be a little more challenging than the tests. My kids prefer that as it makes the actual test seem easier.


I've never even heard of Grubers before now.


The books vary and the tests themselves vary. Last year's test was a bit easier than normal and led to mostly high scores (higher than usual for most states) for NMSF cutoffs. Even Commended was 202. And that's with a HARSH curve. One wrong led to a 76 in math if I remember correctly. Some years one wrong can still be an 80.


I suspect this year it will be a harder test as the "powers that be" won't want to curve so harshly again.


The "good" news out of it all is that every test taker is still competing against other test takers. Theoretically the top of the top will still be the same as they will curve to try to keep the percentages equal. The problem last year would have come due to too many "perfect tests" making it difficult to curve the top end. This is what they will try to avoid. There won't be any less (or more) NMSF or Commended students.

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I did some researching and it seems to be general consensus that Kaplan is one of the easier prep books and shows a higher score than actual test results. I didn't find much about Gruber's though. Princeton Review seems to be one of the more accurate, and Barons tends to be harder and show lower scores. Like Creekland, my dd prefers to have the practice harder and the actual test seem easier.


Christine, even though Kaplan is easier, I would think that the score wouldn't be that much lower to affect things significantly. It sounds to me like Gruber's is way off the mark. Maybe you could get the Princeton book and have him take one of their tests to get a better idea.

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We are using the McGraw Hill PSAT prep book and my daughter has also been doing REALLY well. I've been a little worried also. We have a practice test from the College Board that the school my daughter will be taking the test gave us when we registered. I'm going to have her take that this weekend and see if the scores compare.


Good luck!!


Elise in NC

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