2016 (Unofficial) National Merit Commended Cutoff Score is Out!

Now that we know this year’s (unofficial) National Merit Commended cutoff score is a 209, we wanted to take a look back at how we did, and what this means for our Semifinalist predictions. To clarify, while the NMSC has not officially posted this score on their website, we have had multiple reports from parents and students who have contacted NMSC directly. Until further notice, we will proceed with this score in mind as the (unofficial) Commended student cutoff score.

How did we do?

Taking a look back at our Updated PSAT Cutoffs post, our range for Commended was between a 200-210, but more importantly, our estimate for North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming were 210’s. Historically, these states’ NMSF scores have generally coincided with the national Commended cutoff, and with only a 1-point difference between the two, it seems that our model is performing quite well. This bodes well for the rest of our predictions, which we hope will prove to be accurate once the official NMSF cutoff scores are announced.

What does this Commended score mean for students?

Firstly, it’s important to note that while the ND, SD, WV, and WY scores have historically lined up with the national Commended cutoff score, this is by no means a guarantee that any of these states’ NMSF cutoffs will be a 209. If you look at the historical data, these scores have shown subtle fluctuations, so we cannot say for certain that a 209 will be the exact National Merit Semi-finalist cutoff for these states.

It’s also interesting to note that College Board has essentially confirmed a tighter grouping of National Merit scores when compared to previous years’. When constructing our predictions, many posters expressed a concern we initially had as well, that the estimated cutoffs seem to be fairly high and tightly grouped. Consider last year’s Commended, a 202 out of 240, compared to this year’s scores of 209 out of 228. When looking at these numbers, it may seem that this year’s test must have been easier, since the cutoff score is higher, but that’s not necessarily true! Since the entire scoring system has been changed, it’s not fair to directly compare cutoff scores, as College Board may have changed the raw score to scaled score conversion on their backend to reflect the new update.

Finally, as always, though this news suggests our methodology is overall performing well in terms of predictive power and accuracy, we must stress that our predictions are by no means definitive. While we hope our numbers will line up well with the official cutoffs, states’ cutoff scores do display minor fluctuations from year to year, so the official score required for National Merit Semifinalist may be slightly higher or slightly lower than our predictions. Once the official NMSF numbers are released by the NMSC, we’ll be sure to perform an analysis and debrief to see how we fared in the big leagues!

Registration Deadline Reminder! Sign up for the SAT and ACT!

As summer is fast approaching, we at College Compass wanted to remind you of the upcoming SAT and ACT test dates!

SAT Test Date Regular Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline
5/7/16 4/8/16 4/22/16
6/4/16 5/5/16 5/20/16

You can register for the SAT exam here!

ACT Test Date Regular Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline
6/11/16 5/6/16 5/20/16

You can register for the ACT exam here!

Continue reading “Registration Deadline Reminder! Sign up for the SAT and ACT!” »

HAPPY IVY DAY!

For the uninitiated, today and tomorrow are the days most of the Ivy League and similarly selective schools release their admissions decisions. For those waiting anxiously for these notifications to be released, best of luck! No matter what happens, congratulations on completing this journey; you will undoubtedly shape the world for the better!

GOOD LUCK!!!

Testmasters Hosts Math Kangaroo Event

Making Math Fun for Houston-Area Students

3rd Largest National Event puts Students’ Math Skills to the Test

Houston (March 17, 2016) – One hundred sixty Houston-area primary school students put their critical thinking skills to the test today at a math Olympiad designed to develop mathematical knowledge and interest among young students. Testmasters, one of the nation’s leading test preparation authorities, hosted the event at its Houston and Sugar Land locations to address growing demand for math forums, especially for students in first through fifth grades. Continue reading “Testmasters Hosts Math Kangaroo Event” »

What Colleges and Universities SuperScore the SAT?

Today we list out the popular universities that SuperScore!
Today we list out the popular universities that SuperScore!

For those unfamiliar with SuperScoring, this is the term given when colleges take the highest SAT section scores across multiple sittings and combine them into a single composite score. Not all universities SuperScore, and indeed most do not, but we went ahead and compiled a list of the most popular schools that do, pulling from the official College Board publication on the matter.

Disclaimer: We are providing this information using the most up-to-date material out there, but given the plasticity of college admissions and the alacrity with which schools change their policies given such matters, we recommend students and parents check directly with a school, either over the phone or through an official school website, to ensure that the information presented is accurate. Further, we selected only the most popular schools and universities, so an exclusion from our chart does not necessarily mean that school does not SuperScore.

Continue reading “What Colleges and Universities SuperScore the SAT?” »

Ask Test Masters – Do I Have to Take AP Exams to Get Into College?

Have a question? Ask the experts at Test Masters!
Have a question? Ask the experts at Test Masters!

Today’s Ask Test Masters question comes from Curious Mama. She writes

If a child doesn’t take AP courses, and instead takes the classes that are offered generally by the school for that grade, and receives a 3.5 gpa or higher, is a varsity athlete and has volunteer/work efforts to add to their resume, are they “good enough” to get into a 4 year university? Or is is true you have to go the all AP route to get in?

 

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Ask Test Masters – Can Extracurriculars Make Up For Low Grades?

Have a question? Ask the experts at Test Masters!
Have a question? Ask the experts at Test Masters!

Today’s Ask Test Masters question comes from YG who writes:

Hi! I am currently a sophomore in a high school that is located in a boring state, but is pretty competitive. It is well known in my area (other districts know about it) and is ranked in the top 100 in the nation (may be bound to change, its according to newsweek). I took AP Chemistry my freshman year, as well as 2 honors classes and band, but didn’t get that stellar of grades. This year, I am not doing band and taking 2 AP’s with 2 honors. I am in 2 competitive clubs and 1 “filler” club, and am in the process of founding 2 more clubs. I volunteer weekly at my local recreational center and retirement home. I still have the ACT to take, and obviously I still have my junior year left, where I am planning to take 6 AP/IB classes. To make up for some of my lacking scores, I am aiming to get the highest possible score on my ACT and take subject tests (Math 2, for one). My questions are:
Continue reading “Ask Test Masters – Can Extracurriculars Make Up For Low Grades?” »

Ask Test Masters – What if My School Doesn’t Offer AP or IB Classes?

Have a question? Ask the experts at Test Masters!
Have a question? Ask the experts at Test Masters!

Today’s Ask Test Masters question comes from a reader in Colombia who writes:

Hi! I read your post (and it is extremely helpful by the way) but when I was reading the “Grades” section I came across a question: What can I do if my school doesn’t offer any AP or IB classes? I am from Colombia and our school system works differently from the schools in U.S, do you know anything about applying as an international student?

 

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What is a Good Score on the New SAT?

Presenting the SAT Score Range Chart, by University.

Editor’s Note: We have updated our information given College Board’s most recent publications. Check out our most up to date predictions here!

Today is the first iteration of the new SAT exam; hundreds of thousands of students across the country are currently working through the redesigned SAT in hopes of scoring well enough to secure a spot at their first choice college. But what kind of score will be that be?

Today we'll demystify the New SAT score with our list of estimated score ranges for over 200 colleges and universities!
Today we’ll demystify the New SAT score with our list of estimated score ranges for over 200 colleges and universities!

The March 5th SAT results are not likely to be released until the middle of May, presumably to allow College Board the opportunity finalize their score conversions and concordance table. This gives students plenty of time to agonize and worry about their scores. Questions will abound – Did I do well? What does this score mean? Will this score get me into the colleges I want to go to? Do I need tot take the SAT again? What is a good score on the new SAT?

Continue reading “What is a Good Score on the New SAT?” »