Now that the wait’s nearly over and you’re soon going to get your PSAT scores, there seems to be only three alternatives: Your score’s going to be so good that every school’s going to want you, so bad that no school will ever want you, or so middling that you’ll wonder why you even bothered. And because your score’s going to be whatever it’s going to be – the die have been cast, and you now have no control over what numbers will come up when they stop bouncing – you don’t need to do anything else, right?
Wrong, and wrong in almost every respect. In fact, there are multiple things that you need to do, and we can walk you through the first three.
1. Learn what those scores really mean.
We could suggest that you try to do this by yourself or with only the help of your parents, but that would be akin to handing you a stewed carrot and suggesting that you try to use its blunt end to dig your way through the base of a mountain. Yes, with three main scores (one of which is the total of the other two), eight subscores, a National Merit Scholarship Index score, and 139 Question-Level Feedback scores, properly interpreting the PSAT can be downright daunting even for some test-prep nerds.
2. Keep things in perspective.
Your score doesn’t establish your intelligence, and, regardless of what you might assume, it, alone, won’t make or break your chances of gaining admission to any particular school. It’s true that if you’re score’s really high, there’s a good chance that you’ll draw attention from lots of schools. According to an Oct 12, 2015 forbes.com post titled Does the PSAT Really Matter?
Particularly strong scores can lead to recognition by the National Merit Scholarship program, which in turn can lead to more money or other positive interest for colleges…but unless you’re likely to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship program, it’s not going to have any meaningful impact on your college admissions experience.
Also bear in mind that high standardized test scores are important, they’re far from the only things that schools consider when making admission decisions, and, if fact, they tend not to be number one of the list of the most important things that schools consider when making those decisions.
Which brings us to another part of keeping things in perspective: Your PSAT score isn’t a final “anything” –except for your score on that PSAT. If it’s interpreted and used properly, instead of a final something, an end, it’s a beginning.
3. Use your scores to help you decide what comes next.
That might be SAT prep or ACT prep, and it might be to consider schools that are either SAT/ACT test optional or SAT/ACT test “blind” – as in “won’t consider the scores of either even if they’re submitted.” This third thing you need to do is yet another arena in which we know our stuff and can help you greatly…
…but it all starts with learning what your PSAT scores mean, so be sure to attend our free webinar on that topic this coming Wednesday evening at 6 pm.