The New PSAT: What’s in It for You
The table below shows that the length of the test has been increased by 25% to 2 hours and 45 minutes. That translates to an increase in both the number of questions and the average amount of time per question. However, we anticipate that the extra time will be required to digest each question because there will be more reading and deeper thinking. What we don’t know is how students will actually feel about their pacing through a new format that stresses greater textual analysis.
For 2015, the College Board has decided not to offer a Saturday PSAT, but only on Wednesday, October 14, or October 28. Expect a return to the Saturday testing (often a private school testing day) in 2016. While last year’s PSAT scores were reported in early December, College Board is not guaranteeing that date this first time around. We’ll see.
The PSAT 10 and PSAT 8/9
While the new PSAT will be offered to both sophomores and juniors in October, schools will be able to administer a spring PSAT to 10th graders starting in 2016. This PSAT 10 will be identical in format to the October PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), but the questions will be different. PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 scores will be reported on a 160-760 scale for the test’s two components: Math and Evidence Based Reading & Writing. Sophomore scores will be scaled – as will scores of 8th and 9th graders. Yes, schools may decide to offer the new “PSAT 8/9” to 8th and 9th graders whose scores will be reported on a 120 to 720 scale. This may be a direct response to the ACT Aspire testing program that begins in grade 3 and goes through grade 10.
National Merit Scholarship qualification will go to the top-scoring students (99th percentile) on the new PSAT. Top scorers will not be forced to take the new SAT if they have already done well on the current SAT as part of their qualification for the scholarship.
There will be lots more to come. We hope this has whetted your appetite as much as it has ours!