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Why was my SAT score so much lower than my PSAT score?

QUESTION: I have taken the PSAT two times and gotten the exact same score on both tests. When I took the actual SAT for the first time this year, I received a score 120 points lower than my previous PSAT scores. Is this normal? If not, what am I doing wrong? Signed, Desperately Seeking Solace

Dear Desperately Seeking Solace: The PSAT is a similar test to the SAT. However, there are differences in the level of difficulty so getting a particular score on the PSAT may not necessarily predict what you will score on the SAT.

Most students find that they do better on the SAT the second time they take it. This is usually due to the fact that they are now more familiar with the test.

We recommend that you re-take the SAT. Invest some time in preparing. To measure your progress, take actual SAT tests from previous years as practice. The College Board has several books that contain old tests. If you take these practice tests under the same conditions as the real test, you should have a good idea of how you will perform.

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Gen & Kelly Tanabe

Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.