With the long awaited rework of the SAT and PSAT rolling out this year, incoming high school freshmen might be wondering what to expect and how to navigate the new standardized testing landscape. For many students standardized testing will still begin with the PSAT/NMSQ, so here’s an overview of what you need to know and how the PSAT/NMSQT changes will affect you:

First off, the old PSAT is dead; long live the rPSAT.  rPSAT just stands for Redesigned PSAT (similar to the rSAT).  If you haven’t taken the SAT yet and have no plans to take it this fall, all the College Board tests you will take in high school should follow the new, redesigned format.  You may encounter both names (PSAT and rPSAT), but for incoming high school students, they will refer to the same thing.  The different versions of the PSAT (PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, and NMSQT/PSAT 11) cover the same general material but are scaled to be grade appropriate for the students taking them.

For the vast majority of high school students, the main purpose of the rPSAT will be to practice for the rSAT.  Knowing what to expect is the single most important preparation you can get for a standardized test, and having the opportunity to do a test run (or more, with the possibility of taking the PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10) of a test that closely resembles the SAT can be invaluable.  rPSAT scores, just like PSAT scores, are not reported to colleges.  At most, rPSAT scores may be used by colleges to send promotional mailings, and the score on the 11th grade rPSAT will be considered for National Merit Scholarship awards.

That being said, the more familiar you are with the rPSAT when you take it, the more useful the score report will be as a diagnostic tool.  The official score report for the rPSAT can be incredibly useful for identifying content areas or question types you should work on, but if you missed a lot of questions simply because you were surprised to see them or because you completely misjudged how much time you had, the score report will be of less value.

This is where the redesign of the SAT and PSAT could be great for students.  Not only will the rPSAT closely resemble the rSAT, but it will also be much closer to the ACT than before.  This means the rPSAT will be helpful practice for the rSAT and the ACT both; similarly, any practice you do on either the rSAT or ACT should help when taking the rPSAT.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is don’t sweat it!  Think of the rPSAT as a learning tool to help you prepare for the rSAT and ACT.

Need some help getting acquainted with the rPSAT or rSAT? Signet experts can show you the ropes!