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mlktwins

PSAT Questions - First Timer

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I am looking into signing my boys up for the PSAT this year.  They are both entering 9th grade and this will be their first time taking this test.  I'm currently in the process of figuring out timeframes, etc. to register with our base school.

My first newbie question is will this be for the PSAT 8/9 and not the PSAT/NMSQT, which I believe is for higher grades and merit scholarships?

Should they be studying for this or should we just take it and see how they do?  If they should study, I want to order practice tests.  Any recommendations on which publisher has the better test prep books? I can get last year's at the library, but will order new ones for the current year if that is best.

They did really well on their first proctored standardized test in May, but I think this will be a little different and with a lot more kids testing at the same time.

 

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It probably depends. Here in Texas our homeschooled kids normally take the PSAT with a private school. They only offer the PSAT, so we did that. 

The PSAT only counts for National merit when taken your junior year. 

If they are just 9th grade, I might take them through the scoring info (I don't remember if you should guess if you are close to out of time or not). I might let them take the practice test that comes with the prep booklet - the PSAT issues this and our private school hands them out to you before the test. I had both of mine take it without studying. 

It is a little different - fast paced. If you have kids who this would bother, warn them that they might not get through with every section before time runs out. 

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9th grade is pretty early.  I would have them take the real PSAT (not the 8/9) so you can get a better idea of a baseline for the actual test.  Taking the actual PSAT will also allow you to compare it to the National Merit cutoffs for your state.  It's probably too early to really know, but it will give you an idea of whether they are close enough to make the cut off.  (I forgot how much math is a prerequisite, but take that into account obviously.)  You can also see if they are weaker on either math or english, you can decide how you want to increase those skills generally over the next couple of years.  I would save real prep for the year before the exam.  Take it again in 10th grade and then you'll get a better understanding of how many points your student needs for any scholarships he may qualify for.  Good luck.  

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9 hours ago, daijobu said:

9th grade is pretty early.  I would have them take the real PSAT (not the 8/9) so you can get a better idea of a baseline for the actual test.  Taking the actual PSAT will also allow you to compare it to the National Merit cutoffs for your state.  It's probably too early to really know, but it will give you an idea of whether they are close enough to make the cut off.  (I forgot how much math is a prerequisite, but take that into account obviously.)  You can also see if they are weaker on either math or english, you can decide how you want to increase those skills generally over the next couple of years.  I would save real prep for the year before the exam.  Take it again in 10th grade and then you'll get a better understanding of how many points your student needs for any scholarships he may qualify for.  Good luck.  

9th graders here are required to take the PSAT.  I'd like them to take it to see how it goes.

Will it effect anything down the road if they don't do well the first time taking the PSAT?

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With regard to the PSAT/NMSQT.  That must be taken during October of the Junior year.  If they qualify as Hispanic/Latino (per the College Board) they must indicate they are Hispanic when they Bubble In the answer sheets. The reason for that is the PSAT/NMSQT is also used for the "National Hispanic Recognition Program" which is not a Scholarship, but it is an honor.  https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt-psat-10/scholarships-and-recognition/national-hispanic-recognition-program

About studying for PSAT/NMSQT and SAT exams. There is an official tie-in between the College Board and Khan Academy.

Sign them up for accounts on College Board and Khan Academy. That's free.

Also, they need to have a special email address, for all of the emails that come in from schools after they take the PSAT/NMSQT. Most are of no interest. Some are priceless.

Indicate on the Answer Sheet that they are interested in hearing from schools.

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I had my daughter do a practice (full fledged) SAT exam at home in 9th and 10th grades. I also had her take a practice ACT test. This gave us some ideas of areas to review as well as which test to pursue. She took the actual PSAT and SAT tests her junior year. (She also took SAT subject tests, AP exams, and National Latin exams during her high school years.)

Regards,

Kareni

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5 hours ago, mlktwins said:

9th graders here are required to take the PSAT.  I'd like them to take it to see how it goes.

Will it effect anything down the road if they don't do well the first time taking the PSAT?

 

I agree with Kareni.  There's no downside to taking the PSAT and not doing well unless you think it may discourage them, or give them additional anxiety or whatnot.   OTOH, it could reassure them, or demystify the exam.  It depends on the kid.  

IIRC, my dd only took it in 10th grade, and it didn't count for anything and we didn't report it.  But it did give her valuable information about where she stood with respect to national merit.  

Check this, but I'm pretty sure no college asks for PSAT scores, though I suppose you could report them if they are high.  They are solely used to determine National Merit Scholarship, and sometimes for merit-based financial awards.  

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