The College Board has released a new Preparing for the PSAT/NMSQT™ booklet that is updated for the Digital PSAT to be administered in October of this year:
Here are some important takeaways:
- The National Merit Selection Index Calculation Has Changed: Under the previous paper-based PSAT selection Index, the writing and reading sections were counted independently towards the selection index. Now, the combined reading/writing section counts twice as much as the math. The formula is as follows: [2(Reading/Writing Score) + (Math Score)]/10 = National Merit Selection Index. The Selection Index will be between 48-228. So, students should be sure to do as well as possible on the Reading/Writing sections in order to earn National Merit Recognition.
- Students Should Review the Bluebook Application for PSAT Practice: In years past, the PSAT/NMSQT has had extensive practice. For the Digital PSAT/NMSQT, the College Board is encouraging students to go directly to the Bluebook Application and Khan Academy to get practice material. There is one PSAT practice test available on Bluebook.
- Students Can Use the PSAT to Connect with Colleges and Scholarship Organizations: The College Board has a program called “Connections™, a free program that lets you hear directly from nonprofit colleges, scholarship programs, and educational organizations that are interested in students like you.” It is notable that in light of the recent affirmative action decision by the Supreme Court, students have the option of sharing their race/ethnicity in the Connections program. Since the PSAT is not technically used for college admissions, perhaps this will be a way that colleges can bypass the restriction on using race/ethnicity in the admissions process to encourage a more diverse selection of students to apply.
As more information becomes available, we will be sure to keep you up to date.
Thanks, Brian W. Stewart