### Bell_Curves_OSSE_SAT_and_PSAT

```PSAT
and
SAT
Everything you wanted to know
afraid to ask, didn’t know who
to ask, didn’t get a satisfactory
OSSE Professional Development Seminar
September 24, 2013 – Washington, DC
Akil Bello
Founder and CEO – Bell Curves
Akil Bello
Helping people fill in bubbles since 1990
Bell Curves
In 2003, Bell Curves was founded by Akil
and Hashim Bello.
Bell Curves
Provides test preparation services for
major admission tests (SAT, GMAT, GRE)
Bell Curves
7 employees, 8 cities and 1 territory, 40
part-time instructors, 3000+ students
Bell Curves
Partners with public schools,
universities, NPOs, and CBOs.
Akil Bello
In 2013, he’s continued helping people
of color achieve higher education
Math: 428
W: 417
CR: 428
Math: 448
W: 443
CR: 465
Math: 535
W: 517
CR: 527
Average SAT scores
By ethnicity
PSAT versus SAT
How the PSAT differs from the SAT
PSAT
SAT
Timing
2.5 hours
3.75 hours
Scoring
20 – 80 per section
200 – 800 per section
Content
Same but not quite as
Arithmetic, Algebra,
Geometry, Grammar,
Comprehension
Essay
None
1 hand-written
The PSAT and SAT mostly differ in
length.
Use the SOAS to inform academic staff
Question by question analysis can
reveal trends and patterns
Question by question analysis can
reveal trends and patterns
Skills categories are not aligned to
state or Common Core … yet
Challenges to testing success
 Lack of content knowledge
 Lack of test savvy (practice,
comfort, strategy, stamina)
 Over-reliance on external
support
www.bellcurves.com
Challenges to testing success
1. Expand the following
polynomial and then simplify
the equation:
3(10x + 5y) + 5 = 65


Specific instructions
Familiar wording
2. What is the value of 10x + 5y, if
3(10x + 5y) + 5= 172 ?
(A) 167
(B) 122
(C) 55.66
(D) 11.13
(E) 0.37



Lack of instruction
Reasoning and calculation
Unfamiliar structure
Inaccurate expections and lack of familiarity
www.bellcurves.com
Challenges to testing success
In the summer of 1911, the explorer
Hiram Bingham bushwhacked his way to
a high ridge in the Andes of Peru and
beheld a dreamscape out of the past.
There, set against looming peaks
cloaked in snow and wreathed in clouds,
was Machu Picchu, the famous “lost city”
of the Incas. This expression,
popularized by Bingham, served as a
magical elixir for rundown imaginations.
The words evoked the romanticism of
exploration and archaeology at the time.
But finding Machu Picchu was easier
than solving the mystery of its place in
the rich and powerful Inca empire. The
imposing architecture attested to the skill
and audacity of the Incas. But who had
lived at this isolated site and for what
purpose?
1. What aspect of Manchu
Picchu contributed to the
romanticizing of exploration?

Direct questions on
known content

Familiar wording and
structure
Habits that are counter to test philosophy
www.bellcurves.com
Challenges to testing success
1. The words “magical elixir” (line 7)
primarily emphasize the
(A) motivation for an expedition
(B) captivating power of a phrase
(C) inspiration behind a discovery
(D) creative dimension of
archaeology
(E) complexity of an expression
 Wrong (trap?) answers anticipate mistakes
Lack of content knowledge
www.bellcurves.com
Challenges to testing success
B
B
3
C
A
A
C
4
1. In the figure above, what is the
length of hypotenuse BC?
2. In the figure above, what is the
length of side AC, if AB is 3 and
BC is 5?
(A) 4
(B) 5
(C) 7
(D) 12
(E) 25
Lack of Test Savvy
www.bellcurves.com
Preparing
students for the
PSAT SAT
and
Kill the Monsters and Fairies
Tests are not evil monsters, test prep
is not magic fairy dust.
Provide Support
www.bellcurves.com
Teach Kids How to Score
www.bellcurves.com
 Understand pacing
 Understand scoring
 Understand guessing
Teach Kids How to Score
John Q. Student
Jennifer Jones
Attempted
60 (of 67)
36 (of 67)
Right
36
30
Wrong
24
6
Blank
7
37
Raw score
Know HOW to take the test!
John Q. Student
Jennifer Jones
Attempted
60 (of 67)
36 (of 67)
Right
36
30
Wrong
24
6
Blank
7
37
Raw score
30
29
490
490
Understand conversion charts
Ways to support effective prep
 Build confidence
 Understand scoring & pacing
 Know the differences
 Be the planner
 Know the resources
 Engage underlying skills
www.bellcurves.com
Know the resources
www.bellcurves.com
Good practice tests are available
www.bellcurves.com
Know the resources
www.bellcurves.com
Know the resources
www.bellcurves.com
Know the resources
www.bellcurves.com
Engage Underlying Skills
All vocabulary is SAT vocabulary
www.bellcurves.com
SAT Grammar
Curves 2013
Online resources
www.sat.collegeboard.org – QOTD
www.collegeboard.org – online course (free)
www.freerice.com
www.dictionary.com/worddynamo
www.pwnthesat.com – blog, Q&A
www.sat.bellcurves.com - blog
www.bellcurves.com
Online resources
Bell Curves Blogs
ACT vs SAT
http://sat.bellcurves.com/blog/2013/05/10/act-vs-sat-the-only-difference-that-matters/
http://sat.bellcurves.com/blog/2013/04/17/act-vs-sat-myths-and-legends/