Redesigned PSAT leading towards better college preparation


courtesy of MCT Campus

by Kaylee Henry, Editor

The short URL of the present article is:

Update: 10-2-2015:  Registration for the rPSAT is now closed; however, information in this article is important for all students because most will be taking the rSAT soon.

Throw away your study books and everything you’ve ever heard about the PSAT/SAT. October 2015 there will be a new, completely redesigned PSAT, leading to the redesigned SAT in 2016.

Registration is currently ongoing, but will be ending this week.

The PSAT is a preliminary version of the SAT. In other words, the PSAT is preparation for students who plan to take the SAT. By taking the PSAT students will have a general idea of the structure that is on the SAT. After they receive their PSAT scores, students are able to identify areas needing improvement. 

Many colleges will ask students for their SAT score in the application process as one data point, making the PSAT an important step in preparing for college.

SAT scores are based on a scale of 1600, which is now what the new PSAT will be, too. PSATs are now 35 minutes longer than before, a time of 2 hours and 45 minutes.

The question formats will reflect the kinds that are on the PARCC exams, meaning that there will be two parts to every question, and the student will need to be able to identify evidence to support an answer.

Previously a student would be deducted 1/4 of a point for answering incorrectly.  There is no longer a penalty for guessing; students are scored on “right only” answers.

“Scores are generally released around December, but being that this test is redesigned we’re not sure if that will affect the timing,” said Mrs. Katherine Becker.

For juniors a high score on the PSAT is eligible for National Merit Scholarship awards. NMSC’s mission is to, “recognize and honor the academically talented students of the United States.”  In recent years, several Frederick County students have earned these high scores that qualify for scholarships, but it’s not easy. Last year, there were only nine semi-finalists in Frederick County.  No one from LHS qualified.

In early September, The Washington Post reported that last year’s SAT results were the lowest in the last 10 years.

How is the redesigned PSAT beneficiary to the students?

“The new PSAT reflects now more than ever what students do on a daily basis in the classroom. It also prepares the student for the actual SAT, which is generally needed to get accepted into college,” said Mr. Dan Lake.   

Aside from the preparing for the SAT through the PSAT, Khan Academy offers free tutoring in all subjects, including the PSAT/SAT. Their programs mimic what is on the test, as shown below:


“Khan Academy is a great studying tool for students to prepare for tests for free,” said Mr. Lake.

Along with Khan Academy, the  College Board  has tools such as ‘College Planning,” which helps students explore careers and colleges, the application process, and map out how to pay for college.

Not only is ‘College Planning’ a tool on College Board, the breakdown of the PSAT/SAT/ACT is explained along with links on where to practice for these tests.