PSAT & SAT
Colorado has given a college entrance exam each spring to all 11th graders enrolled in public schools since 2001. In 2015, Colorado selected the SAT because of its alignment to the high school Colorado Academic Standards and because the College Board's reports and free test preparation services could be used by all students. Colorado legislation also added the opportunity for students to take an additional, optional essay as part of their college entrance exam at no cost to the student. At this time, the PSAT 10 was also selected as the new state-required 10th grade preparatory exam. In 2018, the PSAT 8/9 was added for students in grade 9. Students who choose to participate in services offered by The College Board will be connected to resources and activities designed to help identify next steps for extra support or possible acceleration.
At Peak to Peak, our students start practicing the PSAT in 8th grade and each year after leading up to the spring SAT test for juniors. The overall PSAT/SAT timeline at Peak to Peak is as follows:
8th grade, October: PSAT 8/9
9th grade, April: PSAT 8/9
10th grade, April: PSAT 10
11th grade, October: PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test)
11th grade, April: SAT
About the PSAT 8/9
The PSAT 8/9 is a test that eighth and ninth graders take during the regular school day in the fall or spring. It’s the first test in the SAT Suite of Assessments. All the tests in the Suite measure the knowledge and skills your child is learning in school—the same knowledge and skills they’ll need to succeed in college.
The PSAT 8/9 tests reading, writing, and math skills with questions that are grade-appropriate for eighth and ninth graders. PSAT 8/9 scores are not sent to colleges.
Preparing for the PSAT 8/9
Because the PSAT 8/9 is designed to identify the areas students need to focus on and set a starting point for progress, students do not need to do anything special to prepare for the test. The best preparation for this particular exam is a good night's sleep and a healthy breakfast.
PSAT 8/9 Scores
PSAT 8/9 scores are released approximately 8 weeks after testing is complete. Scores will be posted to your student's College Board account. If they do not already have an account, please encourage them to create an account after their first PSAT exam. Accounts should be created with a personal (non-BVSD) email address, and preferably one that belongs to the student, not a parent. This College Board account will follow them through high school and into college and will link all of their PSAT, SAT, and AP exam scores. Please help your student set up their account with their correct information and full name (no nicknames) as any errors can delay score postings.
When you access your score report, you will see a big black number at the top. This number is your PSAT 8/9 score, also referred to as your total score and is in the range of 240-1440. After the total score are your two section scores: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing & Math.
After the PSAT
Your student's PSAT 8/9 score report will pinpoint areas of strength and areas for growth. If your student would like to spend time improving on the skills they're learning in school, they can create a free account on Khan Academy®. This will help them further prepare for the PSAT 10, PSAT/NMSQT, and SAT.
About the PSAT 10 & PSAT/NMSQT
The PSAT 10 and PSAT/NMSQT are the same exams in terms of subject matter and difficulty and only differ by the year that they're administered-- 10th grade and 11th grade, respectively. Additionally, only the PSAT/NMSQT can qualify a student for the National Merit Scholarship. Both exams are excellent preparation for the SAT that students will take in the spring of junior year.
Preparing for the PSAT 10 & PSAT/NMSQT
Because the PSAT focuses on the knowledge and skills your student is learning in school, the best way to prepare for the test is to take challenging courses, pay attention in class, and do their homework. And, as always, get a good night's sleep and eat a healthy breakfast before the exam.
Another great way to practice for the PSAT is with Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy. It's free, it's online, and it gives your student a personalized practice plan based on their previous test scores or their performance on short quizzes offered on the site.
PSAT 10 Scores
PSAT scores will be posted to your student's College Board account 6-8 weeks after their exam administration. The score range for the PSAT is 320–1520. The PSAT measures the skills and knowledge that research shows are the most important for success in college and career. Students receive a total score that is the sum of their scores on the two sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing & Math.
The student score report provides further context for understanding scores by showing a color-coded bar chart for the section scores. Students who met or exceeded the benchmark will be in the green portion of the score band. If students didn’t meet the benchmark but were close (within one year’s growth), their scores will be in the yellow portion. Students who have a score indicating more than a year’s growth below the grade-level benchmark will have a score in the red portion of the score band.
After the PSAT
Each PSAT exam will give students an indication of their preparedness level for college and career. If your student would like to spend time working on specific skills identified by the PSAT, they can use their score to get a free, personalized SAT practice plan through Khan Academy.
About the SAT
The SAT is a standardized college entrance exam that's accepted by every college in the U.S. and over 600 institutions internationally. It assesses the knowledge and skills your student is learning in the classroom. In Colorado, every junior is required to take the Colorado School Day SAT in April as part of their graduation requirement.
Preparing for the SAT
Day-to-day classroom work and homework develops the knowledge and skills students need to succeed on the SAT. For personalized SAT practice, students can create a Khan Academy account and submit their previous PSAT scores or take short quizzes to get free, customized practice for the SAT. The College Board recommends 6-8 hours of Khan Academy practice. Your student's prior experience with the other exams in the SAT Suite of Assessments will also help prepare them for the PSAT.
Most SAT scores will be available in your student's College Board account as soon as 2 weeks after the exam administration. Like with other PSAT scores, your student's score report will detail areas of strength and areas for growth and provide a total score as well as section scores. Students can opt to have their scores sent to up to 4 colleges or programs at no cost. Test scores are not the most important part of a student's application and many universities have adopted a test-optional policy.
Assessment, Data, & Technology Manager
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