A step to the Future Preparing Students for the 2007 psat/nmsqt



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A Step to the Future Preparing Students for the 2007 PSAT/NMSQT

  • This material was produced solely by the College Board for its organizational purposes; National Merit Scholarship Corporation was not involved in its production.

What is the PSAT/NMSQT®?

  • PSAT/NMSQT® stands for Preliminary SAT/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
  • The PSAT was first administered in 1959; it became the PSAT/NMSQT in 1971 when National Merit Scholarship Corporation began to co-sponsor the test.
  • The PSAT/NMSQT has kept pace with all the changes to the SAT ® over the years, and even preceding the SAT when it added the multiple-choice Writing Skills section in 1997, though the PSAT/NMSQT does not include an official essay like the SAT does.
  • In 2006, over 3.3 million students took the PSAT/NMSQT: 46% were eleventh-graders, 53% were tenth-graders or younger students.

Benefits of taking the PSAT/NMSQT

  • The test provides:
    • the best preparation for the SAT Reasoning Test™.
    • the entry point to compete for National Merit Scholarships (usually in 11th grade) including the National Achievement Program. It also provides recognition via the National Hispanic Recognition Program.
    • the option to receive information from colleges and scholarship services through the secure, strictly monitored Student Search Service®.
    • personalized feedback on critical reading, mathematics, and writing skills, including specific suggestions for improvement.

Benefits of taking the PSAT/NMSQT

  • Additionally, when students receive their score reports, they will receive a supplemental, online tool, My College QuickStart™, with access until they graduate high school. It includes:
    • an interactive score report with easy access to all test questions full answer explanations (reminder – students should review their testbook also, to see any scratch work done on test day);
    • insights into how students’ academic skills compare to their college-bound peers, via state percentiles (national percentiles will be on your official paper PSAT/NMSQT Score Report);
    • for high school students, a personalized online SAT study plan that will provide additional practice questions and suggestions for further practice based upon their PSAT/NMSQT results;
    • access to MyRoad™, a dynamic Web-based career, major, and college exploration tool

What skills are tested on the PSAT/NMSQT?

What does the PSAT/NMSQT actually test?

  • Like the SAT, the test assesses the academic skills that students develop over the years, primarily through their academic course work.
  • It measures critical reading, math reasoning, and writing skills that are critical for success in college.

What does the PSAT/NMSQT actually test?

    • Critical reading skills—using content from: humanities, social studies, natural sciences, and literature.
    • Math reasoning skills—using content from: number and operations; algebra and functions; geometry and measurement; data analysis, statistics, and probability.
    • Writing skills—focus on editing, grammar, usage, and organization.

PSAT/NMSQT Critical Reading Questions

  • 13 Sentence Completions
  • 35 Passage-Based Reading Questions (100- to 800-word passages)

PSAT/NMSQT Mathematics Questions

  • 28 Multiple-Choice Questions
  • 10 Student-Produced Response Questions (”Grid-ins” or “free-response”)

PSAT/NMSQT Writing Skills Questions

  • 20 Improving Sentences Questions
  • 14 Identifying Sentence Error Questions
  • 5 Improving Paragraph Questions

How does the PSAT/NMSQT compare to the SAT?

  • Same question types, except the SAT includes an essay assignment that does not appear on the PSAT/NMSQT.
  • The PSAT/NMSQT is 2 hours, 10 minutes; the SAT is 3 hours, 45 minutes.
  • The SAT may have some math questions from third-year math courses; the PSAT/NMSQT will not. (Samples of third-year math questions are available to high school students in the My SAT Study Plan section of My College QuickStart when score reports are distributed to schools.)

Sample PSAT/NMSQT Questions

Critical Reading Section Sentence Completions

  • Roger said the report was significant; Heather contradicted him, saying that all the information presented was ------- .
  • (A) contemporary  
  • (B) scintillating
  • (C) objective  
  • (D) irrevocable 
  • (E) immaterial

Critical Reading Section Sentence Completions

  • Roger said the report was significant; Heather contradicted him, saying that all the information presented was ------- .
  • (A) contemporary  
  • (B) scintillating
  • (C) objective  
  • (D) irrevocable  
  • (E) immaterial
  • Because Heather is contradicting Roger, the correct response is the word that is most nearly the opposite of "significant.“ Choice (E) is correct. "Immaterial" means inconsequential or irrelevant. Information that is immaterial is by definition not significant.

Critical Reading Section Passage-Based Reading

  • Excerpt from reading passage:
    • After I left the room, I began to sift my impressions. Only the day before, an acquaintance had warned me to watch carefully for sleight-of-hand tricks, especially as the man had earlier been a stage conjuror.

Critical Reading Section Passage-Based Reading

  • The “acquaintance” mentioned in line 2 can best be described as a
  • (A) skeptic
  • (B) hypocrite
  • (C) hoaxer
  • (D) confidant
  • (E) mystic

Critical Reading Section Passage-Based Reading

  • The “acquaintance” mentioned in line 2 can best be described as a
  • (A) skeptic
  • (B) hypocrite
  • (C) hoaxer
  • (D) confidant
  • (E) mystic
  • The acquaintance mentioned in line 2 warns the author to "watch carefully for sleight-of-hand tricks." Choice (A) is correct. In warning the author to watch out for tricks, the acquaintance is showing that he is skeptical about the telepathist's supposed powers.

Math Section Multiple Choice

  • If ax + bx = 36, what is the value of x when a + b = 12?
  • (A) 3
  • (B) 6
  • (C) 12
  • (D) 24
  • (E) 48

Math Section Multiple Choice

  • If ax + bx = 36, what is the value of x when a + b = 12?
  • (A) 3
  • (B) 6
  • (C) 12
  • (D) 24
  • (E) 48
  • The expression ax + bx is equivalent to (a + b) x, so the equation ax + bx = 36 is equivalent to (a + b) x = 36.
  • When a + b = 12, the equation becomes 12x = 36, which can be solved to get x = 3.

Math Section Student-Produced Response

  • If — + — = — , what is the value of h?
  • h 1 5h
  • 4 3 6

Math Section Student-Produced Response

  • If — + — = — , what is the value of h?
  • h 1 5h
  • 4 3 6
  • 4
  • /
  • 7
  • Multiply each member of the equation by 12 (the common denominator) to get 3h + 4 = 10h
  • Subtract 3h from both sides to get 7h = 4
  • Divide by 7
  • h = 4/7.

Math Section Know the Student-Produced Response Directions

  • Read and understand the directions in the PSAT/NMSQT Official Student Guide ahead of time.
  • IMPORTANT: The correct answer must be gridded correctly to receive credit. What is written in the boxes cannot be scored.

Math Section Student-Produced Response Practice Grids

Math Section Calculators are encouraged

  • A scientific or graphing calculator is recommended.
  • Bring a familiar calculator, for test day is not the time to figure out how to use a new calculator.

Writing Section Improving Sentences

  • A few barges still move oil up to Hartford, but in the old days they had more traffic then.
  • (A) but in the old days they had more traffic then
  • (B) but in the old days traffic was heavier
  • (C) but in the old days they had a lot more
  • (D) whereas the traffic was a lot more in the old days
  • (E) whereas then there was more traffic in the old days
  • (Note: In this question type, the first choice always repeats the underlined phrase exactly, thus would mean “no change”.)

Writing Section Identifying Sentence Errors

  • A few barges still move oil up to Hartford, but in the old days they had more traffic then.
  • (A) but in the old days they had more traffic then
  • (B) but in the old days traffic was heavier
  • (C) but in the old days they had a lot more
  • (D) whereas the traffic was a lot more in the old days
  • (E) whereas then there was more traffic in the old days
  • Choice (B) is correct. It avoids the errors of the original by eliminating both the unnecessary adverb, "then," and the vague pronoun, "they."

Writing Section Identifying Sentence Errors

  • The electronic computer is a technological triumph that scientists have developed, mastered, and then put it to constantly increasing use. No error.
  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • E

Writing Section Identifying Sentence Errors

  • The electronic computer is a technological triumph that scientists have developed, mastered, and then put it to constantly increasing use. No error.
  • A
  • B
  • C
  • D
  • E
  • The error in this sentence occurs at (B), where an unnecessary pronoun is used. The object of the verb "have . . . put" (like the object of the verbs "have developed" and "have . . . mastered") is the relative pronoun "that," which refers to "technological triumph." The pronoun "it" is therefore unnecessarily inserted after "put."

Writing Section Improving Paragraphs

  • (1) The last century was a time of great technological progress. (2) Life is more convenient, comfortable, and efficient today than ever before. (3) Yet this has created new concerns.
  • Which of the following versions of sentence 3 (reproduced below) is most effective?
  • Yet this has created new concerns.
  • (A) Although this has created new concerns.
  • (B) Yet this progress has created new concerns.
  • (C) Yet these have created new concerns.
  • (D) Yet this has created new concerns to worry about.
  • (E) New concerns have been created.

Writing Section Improving Paragraphs

  • (1) The last century was a time of great technological progress. (2) Life is more convenient, comfortable, and efficient today than ever before. (3) Yet this has created new concerns.
  • Which of the following versions of sentence 3 (reproduced below) is most effective?
  • Yet this has created new concerns.
  • (A) Although this has created new concerns.
  • (B) Yet this progress has created new concerns.
  • (C) Yet these have created new concerns.
  • (D) Yet this has created new concerns to worry about.
  • (E) New concerns have been created.
  • Choice (B) is correct. The vague pronoun "this" is replaced by "this progress," which clearly refers to the progress mentioned in sentence 1.

Writing Section Preparation for the SAT Essay

  • A practice SAT essay assignment will be printed on the PSAT/NMSQT Score Report. In the My SAT Study Plan section of My College QuickStart, high school students will be able to see sample papers written for that essay assignment and learn about how the SAT essay will be scored.

Scoring the PSAT/NMSQT

How is the PSAT/NMSQT scored?

  • Multiple-choice questions: 1 point for each correct; 1/4 point deducted for each incorrect
  • Math grid-ins: 1 point for each correct; 0 points for each incorrect (nothing deducted)
  • 0 points for omitted questions (nothing added, nothing deducted)

How is the PSAT/NMSQT scored?

  • Scores are reported on a scale of 20–80 for each section: critical reading, mathematics, and writing skills.
  • For eleventh graders, 47–50 is about average; for tenth graders, 43–46 is about average; for ninth graders, average is about 38-42 .

How does a PSAT/NMSQT score compare to an SAT score?

  • Some students add a “0” to the two-digit PSAT/NMSQT score to give a rough estimate of a three-digit SAT score.
  • High school students receive a more reliable SAT projected score range in their online SAT study plan.
  • SAT writing score = approximately 1/3 essay scaled score + 2/3 multiple-choice score.
  • Students who have taken the PSAT/NMSQT average higher scores on the SAT than those who have not.

Personalized Skills Information

    • Lists those skills that have the best chance of improvement with additional work.
    • Includes advice, written by teachers, on how to improve those skills.
  • The PSAT/NMSQT Score Report contains information to help students improve their academic skills.

Getting ready to take the PSAT/NMSQT

  • Long-term and short-term preparation

Long-Term Test Preparation Developing Skills

  • Students should READ:
    • improve vocabulary and develop essential skills through continuous reading
    • read more books than just those required for class

Long-Term Test Preparation Developing Skills (continued)

  • Students should:
    • exercise, develop, and strengthen critical thinking, higher-order reasoning, and problem-solving abilities by taking the most challenging courses that they can

Short-term Test Preparation

  • Students should:
    • Take the full-length Practice Test in the Official Student Guide and get comfortable with the test format. Take time to score it, to better understand the scoring process.
    • Visit www.collegeboard.com/psat for complete answer explanations for the questions on the Practice Test and for additional practice test questions
    • Sign up to receive the SAT Question of the Day at www.collegeboard.com (free)
    • Understand “formula scoring” and “educated guessing”
    • Become familiar with the types of test questions, the test directions, and test format

Test-Readiness Strategies

  • When students sit down to take the test, they should:
  • Read all the directions (if you’ve become familiar with these by taking the Practice Test, you will save some time on test day)
  • Read all the answer choices
  • Do scratch work in the test book
  • Work steadily
  • If students skip a question, they should be sure to note it in the test book and leave it blank on the answer sheet; then return to it if there is time remaining to work on that particular test section.
  • Remember: students don’t have to answer every question to score well

Be sure to take the Practice Test inside the Official Student Guide

Test-Readiness Strategies

  • In most sections, the questions are arranged from easy to more difficult (except for passage-based reading in critical reading section and improving paragraphs in writing skills section)
  • Wild guessing is discouraged, but students should make educated guesses when answer choices can be eliminated.

Wild Guessing

Wild Guessing

Educated Guessing

Educated Guessing

Answer Key

Wild Guessing

  • 1 correct
  • = wrong guesses
  • = correct answer
  • = correct guesses
  • Score = 0
  • 2 – (¼ X 8) = 2 - 2 = 0

Educated Guessing

  • 6 correct
  • = wrong guesses
  • = correct answer
  • = correct guesses
  • Score = 5
  • 6 – (¼ X 4) = 6 - 1
  • = 5

To learn more… visit www.collegeboard.com

To learn more… visit www.collegeboard.com

  • Create your free online account to access all the college planning resources and tools available to students.

Take the PSAT/NMSQT

  • How to sign up: Guidance Office or immediately after today’s presentation.
  • (Be sure to pick up the Official Student Guide with Practice Test.)
  • Test Day/Date: Saturday, October 20, 2007
  • Time: 7:30 AM
  • Where: Yellow Guidance
  • Bring:
    • Two #2 Pencils
    • Calculator
    • E-mail Address (optional, but encouraged)


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