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8FillTheHeart

Compass Prep's NMF discussion

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Art discusses the brutal curve for Oct 24th date:

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The “alternate” date of October 24 had a form with an extremely harsh scale. Will this impact cutoffs or National Merit eligibility?

Two test forms are never completely identical. To smooth out any variations, tests are equated. A slightly harder test will have a slightly easier scale, for example. The October 24 test, however, was a bizarre anomaly that was easier than any PSAT ever given. In short, College Board made a horrible test. In order to account for the easy questions, the scale had to be made particularly harsh. A single Math mistake lowered a student’s score from 760 to 710. A second mistake meant a 670. A single mistake in Reading or Writing lowered a student’s Selection Index by 4 points. It would be extremely unlikely that a student missing just 2 problems over 139 questions would qualify as a Semifinalist in the most competitive states.

If the October 24 form does give an unusual distribution of scores, won’t that change the state cutoffs?

Only about 10% of students take the alternate date. This means that the impact on the cutoffs as a whole will be muted. The impact on individual test-takers, though, could be profound. Because Semifinalist status is based entirely on PSAT scores, there is, at present, no means to redress any problems the October 24 exam may cause.

I didn't have a student taking the test this yr, but I feel bad for these kids.  CB has totally lost validity imho.

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I saw the math curve noted elsewhere. -2 was a 670? Wow. The poster didn't indicate it was the alternate test date.

That's crazy. How are these "easy" tests (including the SAT) going out this way? If they know they are easy (becausebthey pre-determine the curve), why are they administering them?

Baffling. And unacceptably unfair.

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As we head in to high school next year threads like this and the AP test changes make we wonder about whether we can just focus on academics and bypass the tests altogether. I'm sure we will end up jumping through the hoops, but some of these hoops are getting very small! 

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I just got done reading Art's whole post

The number of and percentage of kids scoring in the 1400-1560 range went up again! I know when the CB redesigned the test (2015?), many people predicted that it would be tough to differentiate the highest level scorers from the high level scorers, but either the tests are getting easier (yes, obviously, but the curve is supposed to take care of that, right?) or teaching to the test/test prep is getting better.  

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1 hour ago, RootAnn said:

I just got done reading Art's whole post

The number of and percentage of kids scoring in the 1400-1560 range went up again! I know when the CB redesigned the test (2015?), many people predicted that it would be tough to differentiate the highest level scorers from the high level scorers, but either the tests are getting easier (yes, obviously, but the curve is supposed to take care of that, right?) or teaching to the test/test prep is getting better.  

 

Or both, which is even worse.

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oh this is unaccountably distressing. WE of course took the oct 24 alternate date, as that is when the local school here offered it - would have been happy and available to take it the normal date. and we were full-on in the running for NMSF. i am so completely bummed at these implications. like completely and utterly devastated. we're in CA - so needed to at an SI index of 223-224 already. so ridiculous. and so completely unfair. i am SO completely frustrated. then maybe don't offer 2 dates - to base NMSF as a comparison of all students nationwide on a SINGLE test. FRUSTRATED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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9 minutes ago, JoJosMom said:

 

Or both, which is even worse.

Which just proves that the tests don't test what they say they do.  According to the ACT, prep cannot significantly change scores. Bogus.

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 at least the SAT you can retake, if you hit a harsh curve... but PSAT is one and done. you hit a harsh curve and that's it. what a way to start my day.

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34 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

But if everybody’s score was lower, then wouldn’t the threshold be lower? 

The threshold is only lower for the kids who tested on the alternate date. The students who tested on the original scheduled date did not face the harsh curve since they took a completely different test with a different curve. It is beyond unfair.

Edited by FairProspects
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Has there been any info about the Oct. 13 testing date? That was the Saturday option which was used by all of the high schools here.

Thanks.

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@mom1720 School counselors (not homeschoolers) got scores this week & some have put them in Naviance. Kids (including homeschoolers) won't officially get them until Dec 10-12.

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Also why is National Merit by state? I mean there are kids of all sorts of backgrounds in any state, so just because Bay Area is populated with geniuses doesn’t mean the rest of the state is equally competitive. Same with MA and NY. Seems unfair about how significant difference is in a cutoff. I never paid attention before this thread to any of this. 

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@RoadrunnerThe top 1% (approx) of each state is how they decided to do it long ago. They decided this way was more fair to the whole country. Otherwise, certain pockets of California, the upper East Coast  (boarding schools, esp.), etc. would have almost all the NMSFs! It isn't fair to those who would have qualified one state over or in the last place they lived, but it is a known quantity. (So move to North Dakota for your kid's junior year . . . )

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4 hours ago, mirabillis said:

oh this is unaccountably distressing. WE of course took the oct 24 alternate date, as that is when the local school here offered it - would have been happy and available to take it the normal date. and we were full-on in the running for NMSF. i am so completely bummed at these implications. like completely and utterly devastated. we're in CA - so needed to at an SI index of 223-224 already. so ridiculous. and so completely unfair. i am SO completely frustrated. then maybe don't offer 2 dates - to base NMSF as a comparison of all students nationwide on a SINGLE test. FRUSTRATED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I'm really sorry, mirabillis. That stinks. 😞

 

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14 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

@RoadrunnerThe top 1% (approx) of each state is how they decided to do it long ago. They decided this way was more fair to the whole country. Otherwise, certain pockets of California, the upper East Coast  (boarding schools, esp.), etc. would have almost all the NMSFs! It isn't fair to those who would have qualified one state over or in the last place they lived, but it is a known quantity. (So move to North Dakota for your kid's junior year . . . )

 

I think it’s unfair either way. Not everybody in CA live in overprivileged Bay Area.  

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18 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

I think it’s unfair either way. Not everybody in CA live in overprivileged Bay Area.  

True. A case could be made both ways. There are underperforming schools in some of the highest scoring states.

This method says it is selecting the top 1% in each state (on this test), not the top 1% nationwide. A private non-profit corporation made up the rules so they can do whatever they want. I'm grateful for the opportunities being a NMF gave me back in the day.

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The new SAT is even worse than the old SAT in distinguishing between the top percentiles of test takers.   It is a shame that a competition that needs to distinguish at the high end of the testing population is using such a blunt instrument as the SAT.  

I realize that there are some colleges where being a National Merit Semi-finalist results in a large financial scholarship.  However, many of these same colleges also offer automatic large merit awards for high SAT/ACT scores.  

Other than these few schools who court NMSF (and the financial incentives offered by these schools seem to decrease every admissions cycle), this competition, ime, is not a big deal:  colleges don't seem to care, nor do employers.  It is the SAT and ACT scores that colleges care about, and while some employers have asked my college kid for his Math SAT score, not one employer has ever asked him if he was a NMS.

Good luck to all of your kids taking the SAT or ACT and tell them not to be discouraged if they ended up making a careless error on a poorly designed test and end up not advancing in the National Merit competition.  

 

Edited by alewife
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1 hour ago, alewife said:

The new SAT is even worse than the old SAT in distinguishing between the top percentiles of test takers.   It is a shame that a competition that needs to distinguish at the high end of the testing population is using such a blunt instrument as the SAT.

I realize that there are some colleges where being a National Merit Semi-finalist results in a large financial scholarship.  However, many of these same colleges also offer automatic large merit awards for high SAT/ACT scores.  

Other than these few schools who court NMSF (and the financial incentives offered by these schools seem to decrease every admissions cycle), this competition, ime, is not a big deal . . .

I agree with your first paragraph. However, while many of the NMF scholarships are decreasing,  Florida public universities currently give "full cost of attendance" to National Merit Scholars, including OOS Scholars. Since U of Miami is private, it is not a full ride, but it significantly cuts down on the cost of attending there. (I'm simplifying this a bit, but not many people know about this since it was passed just in time for the class of 2018.) These are places (except for USF and UCF) that normally don't care about NM and don't give large auto merit.

I agree that employers normally don't care about NM. But, individual hiring managers might. I still remember my boss gushing over an interviewee. I had not been impressed with his interview (and had to work with him after they hired him and wasn't ever impressed with him). My boss thought this guy was the greatest because he was a National Merit Scholar (and my boss hadn't made the cutoff in his state years before). IMO, listing that on his resume showed how little this guy had done, but my point is that some people do care.

FWIW, no employer has ever been interested in my or DH's standardized test scores.

@mirabillis Sweet kid, indeed!

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Agree, RootAnn. Dd wouldn't be at her school if they didn't have a $6000 NMF scholarship that stacks on top of her full-tuition+ scholarship. That $6000 moved it into the doable range vs having to select amg full-rides at schools she had less desire to attend.

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20 hours ago, mirabillis said:

My son is still hopeful... well maybe I got perfect. 😉

Sweet kid.

Hoping with you that he did! It sounds like he deserves to!

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3 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Agree, RootAnn. Dd wouldn't be at her school if they didn't have a $6000 NMF scholarship that stacks on top of her full-tuition+ scholarship. That $6000 moved it into the doable range vs having to select amg full-rides at schools she had less desire to attend.

My dd really benefited from a NMF scholarship too. She would have received a good scholarship for her ACT/SAT score but the NMF one was really good. Of course, these scholarships are only great if you want to go to that particular school. Hopefully those affected by this horrible PSAT thing will find it wouldn't have made a difference at the schools they want anyway and so might lessen the disappointment.

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My son applied to over a dozen schools. Of that set (mixed public and private, all selective but not all highly selective) the biggest award for NMS was $2000.  

He ended up being a National Merit Scholar with an award directly from the Foundation. 

He had more significant awards from college based merit aid and other scholarships. 

I do know kids on full tuition scholarships through NM status, but they were outside the Venn diagram of what my kid needed at school. 

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On 12/5/2018 at 4:51 AM, alewife said:

The new SAT is even worse than the old SAT in distinguishing between the top percentiles of test takers.   It is a shame that a competition that needs to distinguish at the high end of the testing population is using such a blunt instrument as the SAT.  

 

I've been reading that the AMC (and other competitive subject exams) is replacing the SAT for the most high achieving students.  

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Wow, looking at the "Understanding Scores 2018" document, missing just one question on each section (Reading, Writing/Language, Math) on that Oct. 24 test would give a National Merit Selection Index of 215, well below the cutoff in many states.

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

Edited by Bristayl
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So CB can go hang themselves.

With the brutal 10/24 curve, my son missed ONE in math ---> 710 and 3 in reading/writing ----> 710, equals 1420 (4 questions wrong total)

Last year he missed 13 total and got a 1400. RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!

ETA - last year missing 4 questions, he would have got a 1510. And would have been a National Merit Finalist. I could spit at them. (he figured it out - he would have had a 1500 on the normal date *fuming mad here*)

Edited by mirabillis
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51 minutes ago, mirabillis said:

So CB can go hang themselves.

With the brutal 10/24 curve, my son missed ONE in math ---> 710 and 3 in reading/writing ----> 710, equals 1420 (4 questions wrong total)

Last year he missed 13 total and got a 1400. RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!

ETA - last year missing 4 questions, he would have got a 1510. And would have been a National Merit Finalist. I could spit at them. (he figured it out - he would have had a 1500 on the normal date *fuming mad here*)

My son missed 4 problems total too, 3 in math and 1 in the other.  That only equalled a 1450 though and it was on the original test date.  His index score is 220. 

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 10.11.13 AM.png

724932975_ScreenShot2018-12-10at10_11_05AM.thumb.png.1c2d4b937a7352207c3dfc8bf1a42c8a.png

Edited by Janeway
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i guess with 1 wrong in math & 3 in r/w, my son figured his score would be a 1500. so whatever. it will likely be that kind of day. i hope 220 is high enough in your state? we're in california, so he needed a 223 or 224, which at a 1500 score, he would have had. as it is, he's at 212 - so now to move on. wait for SAT scores coming out on friday!

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1 hour ago, mirabillis said:

i guess with 1 wrong in math & 3 in r/w, my son figured his score would be a 1500. so whatever. it will likely be that kind of day. i hope 220 is high enough in your state? we're in california, so he needed a 223 or 224, which at a 1500 score, he would have had. as it is, he's at 212 - so now to move on. wait for SAT scores coming out on friday!

Well, maybe your son won't be interested in any of the top NMF $$ colleges anyway. So, it might end up being a moot point. I'm sure his SAT score will be phenom! Many hugs!

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1 hour ago, Janeway said:

My son missed 4 problems total too, 3 in math and 1 in the other.  That only equalled a 1450 though and it was on the original test date.  His index score is 220. 

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 10.11.13 AM.png

724932975_ScreenShot2018-12-10at10_11_05AM.thumb.png.1c2d4b937a7352207c3dfc8bf1a42c8a.png

 

1 hour ago, mirabillis said:

i guess with 1 wrong in math & 3 in r/w, my son figured his score would be a 1500. so whatever. it will likely be that kind of day. i hope 220 is high enough in your state? we're in california, so he needed a 223 or 224, which at a 1500 score, he would have had. as it is, he's at 212 - so now to move on. wait for SAT scores coming out on friday!

The way I read it is that the posted score info shows 5 missed in math and 3 in the ERW sections for 8 total missed, not 4.

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Trust me when I say that I share the irritation with CB, but I don't think you can assume that a student who only missed a handful of questions on one form would have missed the same number on the other form (with the other scale). The scales are different because the tests didn't have the exact same level of difficulty.  

I can also relate to the very high cutoff scores in some states. One of my kids moved 2 months after sitting for the exam. He would have met the cutoff in our new state.

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19 minutes ago, Sebastian (a lady) said:

Trust me when I say that I share the irritation with CB, but I don't think you can assume that a student who only missed a handful of questions on one form would have missed the same number on the other form (with the other scale). The scales are different because the tests didn't have the exact same level of difficulty.  

I can also relate to the very high cutoff scores in some states. One of my kids moved 2 months after sitting for the exam. He would have met the cutoff in our new state.

 

I know what you are saying, but there is also just plain human error (musread something...). 

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6 hours ago, Janeway said:

My son missed 4 problems total too, 3 in math and 1 in the other.  That only equalled a 1450 though and it was on the original test date.  His index score is 220. 

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 10.11.13 AM.png

724932975_ScreenShot2018-12-10at10_11_05AM.thumb.png.1c2d4b937a7352207c3dfc8bf1a42c8a.png

 

5 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

The way I read it is that the posted score info shows 5 missed in math and 3 in the ERW sections for 8 total missed, not 4.

I agree that the screenshot for Janeway's kid looks like 3 missed in EBRW total, 4 missed in math and 1 omitted (which, IMO, should never happen).

The scale for mirabilis's son's test date was different than Janeway's son's.

If he would have gotten the omitted one in math correct, that would have been a 36 vs a 35 math for a 720 and a +1 on his SI.

Edited by RootAnn
Addition of comment on the omitted math question

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My ds son lost 50 points alone on Math for 1 wrong answer. 
 

And yes, quite honestly, I do think he would have performed the same. He got a 1400 last year, as a sophomore with no prep. He's been hard-core prepping for SAT (took Dec 1) since September. Taken all 8 practice tests timed, taken both PSAT practice tests, timed. There is no way he only got a 1420, 20 points higher than last year. His most recent practice tests (past released PSATs) scored him from 1490-1510. And I believe it, he's worked hard for it. So this is a bit crushing. Unfair really. He's the type who seldom gets 'perfect' - always gets a couple wrong. So I believe he would have scored the same on the other test - even though it was harder.

Rootann- thanks for your words of encouragement. I'll get over it. Poor kid was so excited first thing, woke up to check his scores. He should be celebrating with some of the others' on the boards with an SI of 223 or 224 perhaps hoping that would be enough for NMSF. Ah well... he was eyeing U of Alabama for a full ride with NMSF - so that's a moot point now. :-)) It'll work on in the long run, I know. Just frustrating the day of. Again SATs out on Friday and he was shooting for perfect. I know he didn't get perfect, but here's hoping for a fab score! 

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It is absolutely ridiculous that the College Board was not able to develop two tests that had a similar level of difficulty.  This test should be screening for more than simply who can make the least amount of careless mistakes.  These kids deserved better than this.  Yet another huge fail by the College Board.  

 

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10 hours ago, mirabillis said:

Come on, tell me that's not ridiculous to see. Humor me, LOL!! 😄

 

psat.JPG

I'm sorry -- this is beyond ridiculous.   We're facing a similar problem for the December SAT (we've heard that curve will be brutal as well).  DD really prepped and was testing really well (bubble-in practice tests, not computer), she was ready to score 1560+  Now, she's just hoping to score 1450 😞  If DD has to take another college test for academic $$, it will probably be the ACT (since she does better on it anyway).

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10 hours ago, mirabillis said:

Come on, tell me that's not ridiculous to see. Humor me, LOL!! 😄

 

psat.JPG

Mirabillis - this curve really does stink.  However, and this will be small comfort, I know, but even if your son had gotten 36, 37, 37, which seems more appropriate than what he received (esp on the math), he would have had a selection index of 220.  Three 37s would have been 222.   Really great, but not enough to qualify in CA where the cutoff is ridiculously high.  EBRW is unfortunately weighted more than the math, which also seems unfair but that’s what the NMS Corp prefers, I guess.

Edited by amsunshine
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14 hours ago, mirabillis said:

Come on, tell me that's not ridiculous to see. Humor me, LOL!! 😄

 

psat.JPG

I do agree that this is a big drop for 1-2 questions wrong in a section. 

We lived in CA when one kid took the PSAT. I had been excited for his prospects until I did the math on the selection index. It required near perfection to get that score. 

Edited by Sebastian (a lady)
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17 hours ago, LisaK in VA is in IT said:

I'm sorry -- this is beyond ridiculous.   We're facing a similar problem for the December SAT (we've heard that curve will be brutal as well).  DD really prepped and was testing really well (bubble-in practice tests, not computer), she was ready to score 1560+  Now, she's just hoping to score 1450 😞  If DD has to take another college test for academic $$, it will probably be the ACT (since she does better on it anyway).

 

Same here. 😕

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18 hours ago, LisaK in VA is in IT said:

I'm sorry -- this is beyond ridiculous.   We're facing a similar problem for the December SAT (we've heard that curve will be brutal as well).  DD really prepped and was testing really well (bubble-in practice tests, not computer), she was ready to score 1560+  Now, she's just hoping to score 1450 😞  If DD has to take another college test for academic $$, it will probably be the ACT (since she does better on it anyway).

YOU ARE FRIGGIN KIDDING ME! AGAIN!? He took the Dec SAT too and also was aiming to score 1560+ also. What a load of baloney. Guess Friday will be a bummer of a day too. SHEESH. BUT... at least we get to take it again! *sigh*

ETA - My ds did decide he wanted to give the ACT a go in Feb. So he'll prep over holiday break for that... and apparently be retaking SAT in March if the curve is as suggested. Oy!

Edited by mirabillis
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I don't know how anyone can have any idea what the curve will be for the December SAT because scores have not yet been released.  

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2 hours ago, alewife said:

I don't know how anyone can have any idea what the curve will be for the December SAT because scores have not yet been released.  

It's based upon chatter because one test (international, which is what we believe dd took) is supposedly similar/same as to a school day test from October.  It's all guesswork, but that is the chatter.  DD said the math portion was incredibly easy -- very few advanced concepts taught.  Said the math on PSAT in October was more difficult.

ETA -- apparently the school day Oct SAT had a -1=770 for the math section.  College Panda's score estimates range from 1440-1570 for dd's "worst case" and what she feels she actually might have missed.  This child tends to be overly critical (so when she does bad, it's not nearly as bad as she thinks.  I have another child who thinks he aces things and that is usually a bad sign).

 

Edited by LisaK in VA is in IT
clarification
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2 hours ago, mirabillis said:

YOU ARE FRIGGIN KIDDING ME! AGAIN!? He took the Dec SAT too and also was aiming to score 1560+ also. What a load of baloney. Guess Friday will be a bummer of a day too. SHEESH. BUT... at least we get to take it again! *sigh*

ETA - My ds did decide he wanted to give the ACT a go in Feb. So he'll prep over holiday break for that... and apparently be retaking SAT in March if the curve is as suggested. Oy!

I don't know about the US version of the test... DD took the international version, which is supposed to be like the US Oct "school day" test, where -1 Math = 770, - 2 = 750; the reading curve was apparently fairly brutal as well.

My DD will be opting for the ACT as well.  If she weren't so close her sophomore year to the NMSQT cut, I wouldn't have even bothered, but she finished about where they predicted she would (DD is kicking herself because she didn't review the math as  closely as she should have.  Every math question she missed was something she knew, but forgot how to do efficiently.  8 practice exams later, DD was acing the reading and the writing (maybe missing 1 total from one or the other sections).  Math?  She almost always missed 3 or 4 between the two sections (usually misreading a question, or inputting a wrong number, sometimes a bubble-in mistake -- always careless errors, not errors of not knowing or remembering).

She at least has had a sense of humor about prepping for the SAT.  On the one hand, they tell you "NEVER ASSUME" -- then in the answers (usually one of those "BEST" answer ones), they will say, "If you ASSUME..." kills me.  The other thing that screws her up, is that on science related passages they will use non-scientific logic to create the answer.  So, if you are actually good at science you can mess up those parts, too.  She used to be worried about the time constraints, but now having about 20 minutes left on the SAT in sections to go over her work, she's not concerned anymore.  I think she'd do better on it because the test is a bit less about "tricks" and more straightforward (and the fact that when she took them in the 9th grade, her ACT score was comparatively better).

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6 hours ago, LisaK in VA is in IT said:

I don't know about the US version of the test... DD took the international version, which is supposed to be like the US Oct "school day" test, where -1 Math = 770, - 2 = 750; the reading curve was apparently fairly brutal as well.

 

If you mean the October school day test here in the U.S., the curve for math was -1 = 790 and -2 = 770.  The reading curve was not as bad as the writing.  My dd missed only one question on the whole test -- the writing portion.  -1 on writing = 38.  She was bummed they took off 20 points for just one question, esp when -1 for the reading portion was a 39.  But really, it was not that bad of a curve, compared to some I've seen. 

See the QAS guide here:  https://pine-student-qassupplemental-download.s3.amazonaws.com/1356/5OSA03/201810-sat-qas-table-guide.pdf?X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Date=20181212T170004Z&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Expires=299&X-Amz-Credential=AKIAIOKF2YY2LC7SCNIQ%2F20181212%2Fus-east-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Signature=2dff97262f4c76d285c3ae48d85585668a089d975e21b982efa4a3f256a15c15

 

Edited by amsunshine
Oops, I misquoted the reading curve. And added QAS guide

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@mirabillis, there is some talk on the hs2coll Yahoo Group that Oct 24 test takers are contacting the National Merit people (not the College Board) to see if they can be allowed to use the "alternate entry" method, which is based on SAT scores taken between Oct and Jun of the junior year. The person said that the National Merit people are "waiting to get all the statistics from the College Board," but it may be worth a try to contact them.I would think that the more people they hear from, the better.

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I wonder how much longer David Coleman will be running the show at the College Board?  There has been one major screw up after another since he took over.

 If I were in charge at National Merit Corporation, at this point, I would be speaking with the ACT folks to see if they could develop a PACT test to replace the PSAT.  It appears that National Merit is already moving somewhat to the ACT since it will now accept an ACT score in lieu of an SAT score in the step a student takes to advance from semi-finalist to finalist status.

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