High School Students Getting Ready for College

This month, more than 3.5 million high school students across the United States will take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), an important step on the road to college readiness.

Tests will be administered at participating high schools on either Wednesday, October 12 or Saturday, Oct 15. Cosponsored by the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), the PSAT/NMSQT measures fundamental reading, mathematics and writing skills and knowledge that students learn in high school and that are necessary to succeed in college.

“In today’s global economy, it is more important than ever that we get more students on the path to college readiness and completion, and the PSAT/NMQST can play an integral role in that process,” said Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, which is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity.

“The exam is not only a building block toward success on the SAT, but it is also a source of invaluable college and career information for students and families.”

PSAT/NMSQT scores provide an early indication of a student’s readiness for college-level work. The exam’s score report — which is distributed by the student’s high school in December — offers extensive, personalized feedback about the student’s academic skills.

PSAT/NMSQT scores are reported on a scale of 20 to 80. In 2010, the average score for 11th-graders was 47 in critical reading, 49 in mathematics and 45 in writing skills.

The average score for 10th-graders was 43 in critical reading, 44 in mathematics and 40 in writing skills. The fee for the 2011 PSAT/NMSQT exam is $14. The College Board makes fee waivers available for 11th-grade students from low-income families who cannot afford the test fee.

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Rakesh Raman