Connecticut students will be getting their PSAT results back during the next couple of weeks. Anxious students and parents will wonder what the results mean for their future and lackadaisical students and parents probably should wonder what the results mean for their future!
Since I live in Old Saybrook, I have to avoid going to the grocery store during the week after PSAT results come because I am accosted by parents who understand that the college process unofficially kicks off for juniors when the PSAT results are released. Why? Because students start to talk among themselves about their PSAT scores. You may been talking about college for the last year but now your student-children will pay greater attention.
Let me allay some anxiety. The PSAT does provide helpful information. It is a snapshot of how your child will perform on the SAT if he/she does about the same level of preparation as other students. If, however, your child has better preparation than others taking the SAT, then he/she will do better. For the last 15 years, students have left our SAT seminar (now SAT-ACT seminar) held in Old Saybrook and Madison with scores that barely resemble their PSAT results. Students can improve their test scores!
Let me light a fire among the few that are not taking the PSAT seriously. While I’ll hear occasionally – usually from acquaintances who are trying to mitigate their own stress – that the PSAT does not matter and nod my head in agreement to be polite – I should say: “you are correct that it doesn’t matter in any permanent record sense since the scores are not reported to colleges but it does matter a great deal in showing how the student will score. If you don’t like the score, then you should do something about it.”
Given that not only college admission but also college cost is tied to test scores, start test prep as soon as possible. Those that are anxious will feel better that they are doing something that will quell their anxiety and those that are lackadaisical will be compelled to do something that their future self will be happy about.