Tag Archives: score reports

For a test intended to evaluate millions of high schoolers a year, the PSAT consistently raises more questions than it answers. The College Board may tout persuasive reasons to sit for the test in 11th grade, but most teens rarely walk away with the information they (and their parents) want most: what do my scores say about my potential on the SAT? The 2017 PSAT appears more transparent and easier to interpret than ever. According to the official PSAT/NMSQT® Understanding Scores guide, the SAT Suite—from PSAT 8/9 through the SAT—uses a common score scale for the total, section, test, and crosstest scores. Thus, a 600 on the Math section of the PSAT suggests, all things being equal, a 600 on the SAT. But don’t take the data at face value, as the PSAT score report does not tell the full story… 1. PSAT PERCENTILES ARE MISLEADING Reading percentiles should be…

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The long and torturous process of applying to college can sometimes feel like a death of a thousand cuts, especially from a financial standpoint. All of those test fees alone–from sitting for exams to sending out score reports to school after school–begin to add up to real money much faster than you’d expect. Fortunately, an increasing number of colleges have been adopting saner score submission policies to help stop the bleeding of fruitless test fees. The Common App and Coalition application both allow applicants to self-report scores or future test dates for a variety of standardized tests, including the ACT, SAT, and SAT Subject Tests along with AP and IB scores. Self-reporting makes sense for many students, but most colleges don’t consider the scores in an application or on a transcript sufficient evidence. That’s why applicants pay so much in fees to the College Board and ACT to send their…

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Some days, you just don’t have it. Maybe you’re tired or unfocused or unprepared. Perhaps you forgot your admission ticket or had to deal with a poor proctor. Whatever the reason, if your test day spirals out of control and your ACT scores fall far below your potential, all is not lost. ACT test takers have many options for handling unflattering scores. The main approach to bad scores is to simply ignore them. Your ACT scores are automatically sent to any high school you report as well as college score recipients you select before testing. But you should never (with limited exceptions) have your unseen scores automatically sent to target schools. Better to wait until after the fact and pay a little extra to choose which ACT scores to send to whom. You can choose test administrations but not specific sections to send. Considering the availability of selective score reporting…

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Taking a test can definitely provide a measure of experience and insight that leads to improvement on the next test. However, the way to extract as much value as possible from an given test administration is to carefully review what you got right and wrong afterwards, preferably with an expert instructor. Unfortunately, getting a copy of your test booklet just isn’t an option on most official SATs and ACTs. ACT does offer a Test Information Release for specific national test dates. The College Board, luckily, offers a similar service for certain SAT test dates. The SAT Question-and-Answer Service provides a test taker a booklet copy of the SAT questions, a report including his or her answers, the correct answers, and additional scoring instructions needed. Note that they do not receive their actual test booklet, but rather a clean copy. A bonus over the similar ACT offering is that test takers…

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Remember when ACT, Inc. was perceived as the “smart” testmaker? The ACT started out serving students in the Midwest and certain other American enclaves, but gained even greater prominence in 2005. Back when the College Board released what turned out to be a disastrous SAT revision, all eyes turned to the shrewdly managed test out of Iowa City. Just as that earlier change to the SAT allowed the ACT to overtake its rival as the world’s most popular college admissions test, this most recent SAT revision was supposed to solidify ACT hegemony for the foreseeable future. Too bad ACT keeps screwing up. Gaffe after gaffe signals that the ACT no longer sets the standard for careful stewardship of a public trust. Many of the ACT’s errors have revolved around the Writing Test, the optional essay that actually helped the test gain popularity. The last year, however, has seen ACT stumble…

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American high school students take a staggering number of tests, each seemingly scored on a different arbitrary scale. Traditional school tests are usually scored on a 100-point scales, but APs are scored 1-5, ACTs 1-36, and SATs 200-800 per section. How can you possibly tell how well you’re scoring with so many different score ranges? If you want to understand score performance, you must look at percentiles. In simple terms, your percentile or percentile rank describes what percentage of the testing population you scored higher than. For example, a score in the 60th percentile is higher than 60% of all the scores for that population. With percentiles and test scores, the higher the better. Unfortunately for students taking the spring SAT, percentile data wasn’t expected because, well, comparing student performance on a test that has never been administered before is pretty difficult. We provided the means to approximate percentiles for…

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