Get An Expert to Interpret PSAT Results

Mon, 12/17/2018 - 1:15pm

In December, high school sophomores and juniors received their free printouts from the College Board summarizing how well they did on their PSATs.  That was a useful holiday present-but do you know how to make the most of that information?

The PSAT is a shorter, but not easier, version of the SAT, the most common test used by colleges for admission decisions.  While not all colleges require SAT scores, most do, and the better a student does on the SATs the more choices are open to him/her.  The PSAT is given once a year in October to students in 10th grade and again in 11th grade.  The junior year PSAT score qualifies students for the National Merit Scholarship competition.  Scholarships are awarded to the top 1% of test takers.

All juniors in the state of Maine will take SATs on April 9, 2019.  Right now is the perfect time to begin preparing.  The earlier you start, the less stressful it will be and the less impact you will have to make on your busy schedule.  A little work now can make a lot of difference later.

Sara Rademacher is a standardized test expert, who has been trained by Kaplan, and has tutored for 13 years at The Study Hall.  She has reviewed all the College Board materials available for professionals and has a particular interest in analyzing students' results in order to coach them to better performances. Joan Benner taught mathematics at Medomak Valley High School for over 30 years and has tutored SAT math with The Study Hall for the last 3 years.

"An example," says Rademacher, "is the way the report classifies the questions you got wrong.  If you have a certain pattern of wrong answers, the printout tells you that you need to work on Algebra, or sentence structure, or pronouns.  The problem is, when you go back and analyze which problems you missed, it may have been because you don't know how to use pronouns or that may end up being a totally off-base assumption.  An experienced counselor can tell a lot more from looking at this information than any computer can.

An often-overlooked component of a student's scores is the personality and instincts of each individual test-taker.  "With some students, I am a cheerleader, telling them to be brave and go for it and providing them with strategies to approach different test questions," says Benner  "With others, I warn them to slow down and read more carefully and not to shoot from the hip!  By noting their WRONG answers, I can help make suggestions about how they can get to the RIGHT answers. This is a unique process for each person."

Sara Rademacher tutors the Verbal portion of the SAT and Joan Benner covers math topics and SAT prep at The Study Hall in Rockport.  They are both currently accepting appointments for reviewing PSAT results. Call The Study Hall at 236-3949 or email for more information.