New PSAT much easier than anticipated.

Re-posted from the NCAG Alumni Newsletter, Authored by Jed Applerouth, Applerouth Tutoring Services,


In this year of changing tests, we are all waiting for the information that will allow us to expertly guide our students  towards a smart testing plan.  The SAT is undergoing significant shifts and the final product remains a work in progress.  The initial set of practice problems released April 2014 gave us only a basic outline of the kinds of problem sets coming to the SAT; the December 2014 problem set, amounting to 2/3 of a full SAT, reflected a higher level of difficulty than we have ever seen on any SAT or ACT. 


The PSAT practice test the College Board released just last week was remarkably easier than the December problem set indicated it would be. It appears the College Board is backing off from a more difficult PSAT and we can only speculate the lever of difficulty of the first new SAT. In May, when Kahn Academy releases the first College Board - supervised practice SAT, we'll finally know what we are dealing with. 


One thing we know for certain, the new PSAT resembles the ACT more than ever. These two test are converging in many ways, particularly in content, but diverging in one key area: time. The College Board has decided to put less of a focus on processing speed and is granting students a significant increase in time per question.  The ACT gives students a mere 48.8 seconds per question compared the PSAT's 71.7 seconds per question and 70.1 seconds per question on the SAT.  Students sitting for the PSAT or SAT are receiving a gift of 40% extra time compared to the ACT. This may be a meaningful factor to students who struggle with the speed constraints of the ACT.   


This summer is a great time to encourage students finishing sophomore year going into the junior year to take Diagnostic Tests to determine their better test.  To determine if they should prep and test for the current SAT (which will terminate January 2016), the ACT or the new SAT coming March 2016.  


It's important to note that students who opt to take the new SAT will have to wait until May or June for a test score as the College Board will use the May results to validate the new curve which will be established for the March testing cohort. Because the current SAT terminates in January, and the new SAT will have a substantial scoring delay, many students will migrate to the ACT during this year of transition.  


If you'd like to learn more about the Diagnostic Tests for students to determine their better test, call us at 541-690-8207 or email

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