top of page

Unpacking the PSAT


Juniors and sophomores that took the October PSAT will see scores released today and tomorrow. Each student has a “to-do” on their list if they took the PSAT to add their scores by subject and sub scores to their testing account so we can unpack what they mean during our next chat.

Below are some frequently asked questions.


My student did not take the PSAT, is that a problem? The PSAT is a means to practice for the SAT in a timed, simulated environment. If your student missed the test, they could take a diagnostic SAT with our tutoring partner Arbor Bridge. Winter break is a good time to do this.


My student took the PSAT, but I don’t think it is a representative score. Students are welcome to take a diagnostic SAT. Another score can validate if the PSAT score is a good baseline to set expectations. Also, the diagnostic SAT is a true SAT so an even better gauge of projected scores.


How can I tell if the SAT or ACT test is the best test for my student? We suggest taking an SAT and an ACT diagnostic test over winter break. After completing those tests, CPC students receive

  • Arbor Bridge consultation on test results

  • Review of next steps through the lens of different school types and majors

  • Is self-study the best first option?

  • Does a score indicate enrichment tutoring is needed first?

  • Will an investment in tutoring provide a return?

  • Should we let go of standardized tests entirely and focus on a test-optional application?

My student performed well on the test; how can we tell if the score is likely in the range for National Merit Scholarship consideration? Junior-year scores are considered, but sophomore-year scores are not. National Merit Semi-Finalists are announced fall of Senior Year, and score levels vary by state. You can click here to see the scores by the state for the Class of 2023.


My student is a sophomore. Will they be taking the SAT on paper next year? - No, the class of 2025 will be the first domestic class required to take the digital SAT. See more information on the digital PSAT/SAT.


How can I find out if my student’s school is offering the SAT school day? - Taking the test on a Wednesday at school can be less stressful than at 8:00 am Saturday. Most schools will offer an SAT school day, but they will pick one of four dates to offer the test. Knowing this date will help the student set up a test-prep timeline.

  • March 1

  • March 22

  • April 12

  • April 25

Will CPC help my student set up a self-study timeline? Yes, we recommend that students begin ten weeks before the test. We confirm they set up their Khan Academy study accounts, designate five days a week to practice questions, and select three days to take full practice tests. We do not, however, monitor the student’s practice; it is their responsibility to complete the suggested prep. Students should not expect cramming for the test to be a viable option.


Is test-optional a valid application type? The most recent data shows that almost 50% of students using the common application applied test optional. However, scores matter if students consider selective schools and limited enrollment majors. See which test-optional schools still lean towards seeing test scores.


What schools require test scores for the Class of 2024 or have not announced their policy? See those schools here.


Remember, we believe that a student’s academic profile is more than how they perform on one test day. The rigor of the high school curriculum and good grades are the best indicator of long-term academic success in college. Senior year schedules must have a rigorous academic load, even if the student is told they have enough credits to graduate.

4 views0 comments