I strongly emphasize with students and their parents the necessity to not dismiss the significance of tests like PLAN and PSAT. Unfortunately, many students dismiss these tests as unimportant and having no real role in their journey to a good-fit college or university. The PLAN is an old ACT that is administered to 9th and 10th grade students as a “practice” ACT. The PSAT is an old SAT taken by 10th and 11th graders as “practice” for future SAT’s. By sitting for these tests, students get a “feel” for what a full-fledged ACT or SAT will be like when they are an upper classman with a bit more focus on the pending search and application to colleges and universities. This is true but, at the same time, doing their best on these tests through some preliminary practice and preparation will streamline the impact of these highly discriminating exams. Athletic coaches do not tell young athletes that their junior varsity years fill with innumerable practices and games are just “practice” and do not require commitment and focus to maximizing improvement in identified skills and physical prowess. The same is true with an Academic Coach. The more effort, practice, commitment and focus a student gives to preparing for these preliminary versions of the SAT and ACT, the better they will perform when the score really, really counts.
The Score Reports for the PLAN and PSAT are some of the most ignored and misused documents relevant to the student’s college advisement and test preparation process. These reports provide a blueprint for maximizing additional efforts and work to improve the next steps in building the strongest portfolio of scores and grades possible to achieve admission to desired colleges and universities. It is much more effective to proceed with an important journey if you have a “map” of how to get there. These score reports are a student’s map.