PSAT/SAT Testing Information


2015-2016 Changes to the Michigan Merit Examination (MME) for juniors: SAT will be part of the MME testing instead of ACT. The SAT is very important to students because it can open the door to admission at various colleges and universities. It is also important to the school community because teacher evaluations are partially connected to the results; results are potentially connected to funding for the school; results are important for the reputation of the school and recruiting more students. Please encourage your students to try their best on this very important test.

Most colleges have historically accepted both ACT and SAT scores and this will continue to be true. Students in Michigan have usually taken the ACT because it is the test that was given to all juniors in Michigan since it was added to the MME in 2007. This will change starting this year as SAT won the bid to be the test given during the MME to all juniors in the state of Michigan. This will be an adjustment, but for students who have been preparing for the ACT, this does not mean they cannot still take the ACT. Students can still sign up to take the ACT on a national testing day, just like they used to do before. However, if they wish to take the ACT they will have to pay the fee. Colleges will continue to look at both assessments. A student can take the ACT up to nine times.

Historically the SAT has been seen as a little more tricky in the types of questions they ask, but the format for the SAT is changing for the 2016 test takers. The College Board has reformatted the test, and it looks more like the ACT in the way the test is set up. There are a few big changes in the newly formatted SAT.

1. The first is that on the old SAT students used to lose a percentage of a point if they guessed incorrectly. With the new format for the SAT students will no longer be penalized for guessing. Students should answer all the questions, just like they do with the ACT.

● Critical Reading 52 questions 66 minutes

● Writing 44 questions 35 minutes

● Mathematics 58 questions 80 minutes

Total questions 155 questions (including the essay) 230 minutes (including the essay)

2. Scoring: The point scale will return to 1600, as it was before the writing test was added in 2005, when the scale changed to 2400. Students taking the new writing test will receive a separate score for that.

o Total score ranging from 400 – 1600.

o Scale ranging from 200 – 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.

o Scale ranging from 200 – 800 for Math.

o 2 – 8 on each of three traits for Essay, and essay score is reported separately.

o Subscores will be reported for every test

3. Students often correlate the SAT with tricky vocabulary and studying words off of note cards. This will change next year. The vocabulary will focus on relevant words in context.

4. There will not be a separate science section. Students will apply their reading, writing, language, and math skills to answer questions in science, history, and social studies.

5. Students will be asked to interpret, synthesize, and use evidence found to answer the questions.

6. Math will focus on three key areas including, problem solving and data analysis (quantitative literacy), the heart of algebra (mastery of linear equations), and passport to advanced math (familiarity with more complex questions). There will not be a separate Geometry section.

7. There will be real world problems that directly relate to the work in college.

8. Reading sections, like the writing section, will see a shift in focus so that students must cite evidence from passages to support their answers. Passages of writing used for various parts of the exam will be texts from significant moments in American history or science. Each exam will feature works such as the Declaration of Independence or a selection from the Federalist Papers, or Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

9. The essay will more closely mirror college writing. The writing prompt will be made public, and the only part that will vary is the excerpt the student is asked to analyze. Students will read a passage and explain how the author builds an argument to persuade an audience. The essay is now an optional piece of the SAT and is given at the end of the test, however the essay will be mandatory for all 11th graders to take during the MME. When students sign up to take the test outside of the MME they will be allowed to choose if they will take the essay portion or not. It is recommended that students re-taking the SAT take the essay portion, as many colleges/universities will only compare scores from those test dates that included the essay. Students will be given 50 minutes for the essay portion.

Students should do well if they do their work in school, and if they read as much as they can. Students should practice reading different types of texts, including newspapers, which they can read online. Students should visit the library and check out a variety of books; fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, classics, and any other category they can think of. Another great way to prepare for the SAT is to take practice SAT tests (click on the Button below); or use Khan Academy for free practice (see below).

Other changes go beyond the test itself. For example, the College Board announced a collaboration with Khan Academy in which the latter organization (which produces well-regarded educational videos) will produce 200 videos that cover topics related to the new SAT. And, as is the practice for the Khan Academy, those videos will be available free. So remember, a great resource for preparing for the SAT is Khan Academy. Keep checking the Khan Academy website ( as they add more resources for the new test.

More information on the new SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT10, PSAT8/9


● Michigan will offer the PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, and SAT free of charge to Michigan 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students.

● The Michigan SAT test day is April 12, 2016. The PSAT 10 and PSAT 8/9 will also be offered on April 12, 2016.

● Free, personalized SAT or PSAT practice from Khan Academy is available now by going to:

● The redesigned PSAT/NMSQT was given for the first time in October 2015.


In an effort to check on progress toward college and career readiness, and to preview and practice for the SAT, all BDHS juniors took the new PSAT/NMSQT for the first time in October 2015, at no cost to the students. Only test results from the junior year will be considered eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT).


In an effort to check on progress toward college and career readiness, and to preview and practice for the PSAT and the SAT, PSAT 10 will be administered to all BDHS 10th-grade students on April 12, 2016, and at no cost to the students. The PSAT/NMSQT is the official route of entry to the National Merit® Scholarship Program. The PSAT 10 will not be considered for entry.

PSAT 8/9

In an effort to check on progress toward college and career readiness, and to preview and practice for the PSAT10, the PSAT and the SAT, PSAT8/9 will be administered to all BDHS 9th-grade students on April 12, 2016, at no cost to the students. The PSAT/NMSQT is the official route of entry to the National Merit® Scholarship Program. The PSAT8/9 will not be considered for entry.


The PSAT/NMSQT, the PSAT 10, and the PSAT 8/9 cover the same content areas. All three tests provide students and educators with the chance to check in on progress toward college and career readiness and success. And both serve as an excellent way for students to preview and practice for the SAT, because they are tightly aligned with the new SAT.

The new PSAT/NMSQT, the PSAT 10 and the PSAT 8/9 will give students access to free personalized SAT study. With students’ explicit permission, Khan Academy will use their results to create a study plan especially for them.

Taking the PSAT/NMSQT, the PSAT 10 and the PSAT 8/9 can also connect our students to:

● AP courses

● Scholarships

● Colleges

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