While at the homeschooling convention earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend a couple of workshops taught by Jean Burke, the owner of the website CollegePrepGenius.com. The information she gave regarding high school students taking the PSAT and SAT was so detailed and helpful, it made the whole conference worth-while. As Jean explained, these two tests are the key to not only getting into a good college, but to receiving scholarship money as well.
The PSAT, she told us,
- Does not stand for “Practice SAT.” Rather, it stands for “Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test.” And while students do have an opportunity to practice for the SAT when they take it, the main purpose of this test is to find the National Merit Scholars — students who will receive thousands of dollars in scholarships.
- Can be taken three times — once during the freshman year, once during the sophomore year, and once during the junior year. The one they take during their junior year is the only one that counts; the other two years are just practice.
- The PSAT is a logic test; it doesn’t test your students on their knowledge, but on how well they can figure out the questions and reason out the answers.
The SAT, she told us,
- Is the test (along with the ACT) that colleges look at for admission and scholarships
- Can be taken as many times as desired, and only the highest score counts. If your student obtains his high score during his junior year, he doesn’t need to take it during his senior year.
- Doesn’t test the student’s knowledge; like the PSAT, it’s a logic test.
On her website, Jean offers classes and DVDs to help students learn how to take these tests. And if they’re anything like her workshops at the conference, they’ll be one of the best investments you can make towards college.