Many families are aware that the redesigned SAT will be administered starting in March of 2016, but they may not be aware that the redesigned PSAT will be administered months earlier in the fall of 2015.
The new PSAT will be longer than the current one: 2 hours 45 minutes instead of 2 hours and 10 minutes. It will still have reading, writing and math sections but the College Board has fancy new titles for them: “Evidence-based reading and writing” instead of “Critical Reading” and “Writing”. These are, like the old PSAT, exercises in understanding word choice and reasoning.
Side note: When one reads the new College Board descriptions one is bombarded with references to “making students college-ready”. This concept comes out of a lofty ideal that the PSAT will be used by educators in the high school classroom to gauge their students’ abilities in reading and writing. Having been a social studies teacher, and at the AP level at that, I can safely say I’ve never been offered, nor asked to see a student’s PSAT score. Despite the fact that I’ve met teachers from all over the country, I’ve never heard of other teachers using the PSAT in this way either. So if there’s a school doing this- let me know!
Back to the facts about the PSAT…
Some good news is here about the scoring of the PSAT: the scores will be in ranges similar to the real SAT. The old PSAT had a completely different range, so parents often wondered “how would this PSAT translate to a real SAT score?” Hopefully this makes assessing a student’s progress easier. Also, there will actually be a breakdown of the individual scores so that family members can clearly see where deficiencies and strengths may be.