Posts filed under ‘NMSQT’

By the way, there’s a store!

Posted by Doreen

AdmitSpit has a “store,” by the way! There was a lot of interest in AdmitSpit’s exclusive “SAT/PSAT Vocabulary Association Guide” booklets that were discussed (only in theory) in the post titled, “Sentence completion vocab lists: the new and better way.”

But, now they actually exist! And you can get your very own copy for $10. (We would give it to you for free, but alas, paper and ink cost money, and so does shipping it to you. $10 includes shipping costs; you don’t need to pay extra.)

How do you get a copy? Well, visit the AdmitSpit Store. You’ll find all the information you need right there!

October 17, 2006 at 5:24 pm Leave a comment

PSAT/NMSQT score cutoffs…

Posted by Dee

… are indeed done by state!

Therefore, the score cutoff in California may be different from the cutoff in New York or Nebraska or Arizona for the National Merit semi-finalist round.

Remember, the College Board needs to take about 16,000 students of the 1.4 million who take the PSAT/NMSQT exam. And, according to the College Board website, “to ensure that academicaly able young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, semi-finalists are designated on a state representational basis. They are the highest scoring entrants in each state.”

September 11, 2006 at 4:29 am 8 comments

More on the PSAT/NMSQT test

Posted by Dee

When you go about preparing for the National Merit/PSAT exam, prepare for it as if it were the real SAT! I cannot stress enough how often students make the mistake of blowing off this test just because it’s the “pre-SAT.” The test is usually administered in mid-October, so there’s still time to prepare folks! (I’ll follow up in the next few blog posts with more about what/how you should prepare.)

It is indeed a great honor to be a National Merit finalist; only 15,000 students out of the over 1.4 million nationwide who took the test will become finalists.

Also, remember that this is a relatively lengthy process. You take the test your junior year usually, but you don’t find out about becoming a semi-finalist until fall of senior year (at least that’s how it was at my school), and then finalist standing is awarded mid-senior year.

September 9, 2006 at 6:05 pm Leave a comment

National Merit Semifinalist essay

Posted by Dee

As I may or may not have said already, I was indeed a National Merit Finalist, but before becoming a finalist, you must get to the semi-finalist level by qualifying through your PSAT/NMSQT score.

Once you get to the semi-finalist round, there’s a pretty decent application process to go through in order to be selected as a finalist.

First, you’ll submit your grades to the College Board. (They want to make sure that you didn’t just get to the semi-finalist round by accident or random stroke of luck on the PSAT/NMSQT, and that you actually have some smarts to back up your high scores.)

Then, they ask you to list your extracurriculars as well as honors and recognitions. (Sometimes these may seem pretty similar, but I always considered awards and prizes to be honors and recognitions whereas extracurricular activities would be the clubs or organizations you participate in. There may be some overlap between (more…)

September 7, 2006 at 12:32 am 7 comments

Some words about the PSAT/NMSQT scoring

Posted by Dee

When you get your PSAT/NMSQT scores back, don’t get confused as to why you don’t have even close to a 2400. The PSAT is scored on a 240 point scale. (They recommend adding a zero onto the end of your scores for an idea of how you’d do on the real SAT.)

Out of the nearly 1.3 million people who take the PSAT/NMSQT test, how do they choose who’s a semi-finalist?

They add up your scores on each of the three sections of the exam (reading, math, and writing), and call this your “Selection Index.” Then, they designate a Selection Index cutoff. (Obviously, the highest Selection Index possible is 240, but the cutoff is usually somewhere between 214 and 220, depending on the year.)

So, the students who score at, or above, the cutoff Selection Index number make it to the semi-finalist round. It’s usually around 50,000 people.

August 29, 2006 at 4:20 pm 1 comment

PSAT is not just practice anymore

Posted by Dee

There was a time when the PSAT was just considered a pre-SAT; but nowadays, you need to pay attention to the full name of this test… PSAT/NMSQT.

What is this acronym gibberish? The PSAT part is still the pre-SAT part (to help you prepare for the real thing), but the NMSQT part is now becoming more and more important (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test).

Do not just show up to the test thinking that it doesn’t matter for anything! True, colleges won’t see your score on this exam, but it is extremely invaluable to list as one of your awards or honors that you were a National Merit semi-finalist or finalist.

Make those 2-ish hours worth your while… this test is by far easier than the real SAT and much shorter. Aim for getting in the top percentiles so that you can snag the National Merit titles. Plus, if you do really well, you might get some money, who knows?

August 1, 2006 at 12:27 am Leave a comment


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