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Could someone explain to me what the National Merit cutoff score means. What happens if you score above that cutoff score?

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Could someone explain to me what the National Merit cutoff score means. What happens if you score above that cutoff score?

 

There are some posts in this thread that explain it.  And here.

 

Here's the official National Merit site.

 

(I'd make a stab at answering, but others are more knowledgeable about it than I. :) )

Edited by yvonne
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Okay, so DD's scores were 1230, 590 reading and 640 math.  That doesn't seem very impressive, but it says her percentiles are 92, 86, and 94th percentiles.  I don't think I'm reading that right?

The scale is different for this test than prior tests. A perfect score is 1520.

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Anyone else still waiting?  I have been given such the runaround and still after 4 hours + on the phone and days of promises...no one is able to help me.  There needs to be a competitor with some competition and then maybe we wouldn't have these situations.  Makes me lose all hope in these tests!  The incompetency!!!  My patience is about out!  :mad:

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We are still waiting for our scores.  The Guidance counselor at the school where my son took the tests sent us an e-mail with this information yesterday: "This morning, 1/11/16, we were finally able to reach a Supervisor at the College Board regarding our online score reports for the PSAT.  Unfortunately, due to the incredibly large volume of students who took the PSAT this year (the largest number in the history of the exam), the College Board has been unable to make all student scores available at this juncture.  As a function of the overwhelming number of test takers, the PSAT scores for our students are not yet available to anyone, but we've been assured that they will be given priority and hopefully be processed and released by the end of this week."

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Our school still can't get their records either.  The testing coordinator gets stuck on the "enter access" number page, but was never given an access number.  When she got hold of College Board, they told her they're no longer using access numbers.  He tried to help her access our scores - to no avail.  We're supposed to get a call back from someone in 3-5 days...  :glare:

 

I shared the student score link someone posted here.  Perhaps students can access their own scores.  Can't hurt.  Might help.

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The scale is different for this test than prior tests. A perfect score is 1520.

 

Many scholarships I have looked at want over 1300 on the SAT (1310 for example).  Is that based on the old numbers or the new numbers?

 

I'm so confused!!!

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My ds is still waiting for scores too. The public school where he attends part time says they don't have scores or access codes yet. I just got off the phone with the college board and apparently he didn't get emailed an access code because both his email and his date of birth were incorrect. The email is now fixed, but we have to send photos of IDs with the date of birth to fix that. The guy thought it would take at least 5 days to process the change, so we may be waiting a long time for scores!

 

DS and I just had a talk about the importance of entering information carefully...

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Many scholarships I have looked at want over 1300 on the SAT (1310 for example).  Is that based on the old numbers or the new numbers?

 

I'm so confused!!!

The current SAT (the last testing date is this month) has a maximum point value of 2400 - 800 Math, 800 Reading, and 800 Writing. However, many colleges never paid attention to the writing score and determined scholarships on the combined Reading and Math scores achieved in a single sitting.

 

My guess is that the 1300 score is needed on the current SAT using the Math and Reading subscores.

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The current SAT (the last testing date is this month) has a maximum point value of 2400 - 800 Math, 800 Reading, and 800 Writing. However, many colleges never paid attention to the writing score and determined scholarships on the combined Reading and Math scores achieved in a single sitting.

 

My guess is that the 1300 score is needed on the current SAT using the Math and Reading subscores.

 

I agree with this. When my oldest dd was applying a few years ago, even with the three scores, they were mostly interested in seeing above a 1200 in the math and reading sections.

 

Dd only considered schools that offered her very specific, sort of unusual major, and at every school she could get the top merit scholarship (not full scholarship) with the math and reading scores over 1200, from what I remember. They were private colleges with lots of money to give. I think it's something for people to consider, many people would write off schools with high price tags but they sometimes offer so much that it brings the price down into a much more affordable range, especially considering we live in an area where the public colleges are also very pricey.

 

It was a huge relief to me that my tenth grader got scores indicating that scholarships were a very good possibility.

Edited by Tiramisu
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It is not very common for homeschoolers to take the PSAT here where I live, so I don't really feel there is anyone I can ask for advice locally. My dd is in 10th grade this year. She did the PSAT as a practice this year. We didn't do any more prep than taking the practice test available on-line and then going through the ones she missed. She got an overall score of 211. I looked at the cut-off score for our state and she was several points above that. She got almost full points for the English sections - the ones she missed were mostly in the math section and were the advanced Alg ones. She is taking Alg 2 this year. I was really pleased with her score and it seems like she should do it again next year as she will hopefully improve with exposure to more math and we can do some prep also. However I don't really know what you would expect a junior to score. Is it necessary to score a lot above the cut-off score in order to go forward to the next level and maybe be eligible for scholarships? Is it usual for the scores to go up when you take it as a junior or should I expect her score to be similar next year? Thanks for any advice you can give me. I feel excited for her, but I don't really know if I should lol. I did not go to school in this country so am not really familiar with the system.

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The College Board has published the percentile breakdowns for the Selection Index (SI). The SI is what National Merit uses to determine National Merit. The Commended cut-off is usually at the 96%. The Semi-finalist cut-off depends on your state of residence.

 

Here is the breakdown:

https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/pdf/2015-psat-nmsqt-understanding-scores.pdf

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It is not very common for homeschoolers to take the PSAT here where I live, so I don't really feel there is anyone I can ask for advice locally. My dd is in 10th grade this year. She did the PSAT as a practice this year. We didn't do any more prep than taking the practice test available on-line and then going through the ones she missed. She got an overall score of 211. I looked at the cut-off score for our state and she was several points above that. She got almost full points for the English sections - the ones she missed were mostly in the math section and were the advanced Alg ones. She is taking Alg 2 this year. I was really pleased with her score and it seems like she should do it again next year as she will hopefully improve with exposure to more math and we can do some prep also. However I don't really know what you would expect a junior to score. Is it necessary to score a lot above the cut-off score in order to go forward to the next level and maybe be eligible for scholarships? Is it usual for the scores to go up when you take it as a junior or should I expect her score to be similar next year? Thanks for any advice you can give me. I feel excited for her, but I don't really know if I should lol. I did not go to school in this country so am not really familiar with the system.

That is an excellent score and based on the released SI's would qualify for National Merit Semi-Finalist in many states. Considering your D has not had all of the math tested on the PSAT, I would expect her score to be even higher next year.

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That is an excellent score and based on the released SI's would qualify for National Merit Semi-Finalist in many states. Considering your D has not had all of the math tested on the PSAT, I would expect her score to be even higher next year.

 

 

Thank you for your reply and the link to the explanatory information. 

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Are your kids getting lots of emails from colleges all of a sudden? Ds has received at least a dozen starting some time yesterday. I'm guessing it must be from the PSAT based on the timing (and at least one mentioned the PSAT in the message), but he thinks he checked a box NOT to share his info. Do they honor those requests?

 

He took the SAT in December and the ACT last June, but this is the first time he's received these communications.

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Dd did not share an email. I told her not to, based on experience with our older kids. Only a narrow slice of colleges fit her requirements so there is no need to be slammed, even at a college-only email address.

 

However, we have received three emails over the past month at the email used during registration. That ticks me off!

 

She's received some snail mail as well.

 

However, dd selected 10th grade on her PSAT so I would expect a lower volume of email and mail. (Her status is changing to next-to-last year of high school. The letter was mailed yesterday.)

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Has anyone else still not been able to access scores?  I called Monday and was given an access code but am still not able to see this years.  I can see the 2014 scores.  Was told on Monday that the CB representative could also not see my scores and would escalate my inquiry but it would take 5-7 business days.  Meanwhile, I have been checking every day to see if they appear.

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Has anyone else still not been able to access scores?  I called Monday and was given an access code but am still not able to see this years.  I can see the 2014 scores.  Was told on Monday that the CB representative could also not see my scores and would escalate my inquiry but it would take 5-7 business days.  Meanwhile, I have been checking every day to see if they appear.

 

My ds doesn't have scores yet either. There was a problem with his account and we're also waiting the 5 business days...

 

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We'll have to wait for paper scores too. 

 

I'm just hoping they mail them out when they said they will. But I won't be surprised if they don't.

 

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Has anyone else still not been able to access scores?  I called Monday and was given an access code but am still not able to see this years.  I can see the 2014 scores.  Was told on Monday that the CB representative could also not see my scores and would escalate my inquiry but it would take 5-7 business days.  Meanwhile, I have been checking every day to see if they appear.

 

It is almost comical what they will tell us to keep us off the phone and from complaining.  I have had different supervisors, say they would escalate my inquiry as well.  Looks like they are reading from a screen and telling everyone what they want to hear.  :glare: I am just hoping they get it together and we can at least get the paper copy.  I have had such the runaround and them constantly blaming the school and the school blaming the college board around and around we go.  I feel your frustrations and know you all are not alone!

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