3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Is my course load good for my sophomore year? Also, should I start preparing for the NMSQT?

Hi! I would like some advice on my course load for my sophomore year and whether I should start prepping for the PSAT as a rising sophomore. (I am planning on applying to the top 20 colleges)

For my freshman year, I took: English 9, physics 9, Spanish 2 honors, Algebra 2 honors, foundations of CS, and social studies 9. I ended up with a 3.88 unweighted GPA.

I also self-studied psychology, human geography, and Chinese (my native language) and got all 5s.

For sophomore year, I'm planning on taking: English 10, chemistry, Spanish 3 honors, precalc honors, social studies 10, an art class, and a dance class.

Since my school doesn't offer APs to students in freshman and sophomore years, I would have to self-study for APs. Currently, I am planning on self-studying micro and macroeconomics, but my counselor said this might be too much for me.

Am I on the right track? Should I take the APs as I was planning to do, or maybe just focus on improving my GPA?

Also, I've taken a practice SAT test a few days ago and got a 1210. Is that a good score for a rising sophomore? Should I start preparing for the NMSQT right now if I'd like to take this test in junior year?

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Accepted Answer
3 years ago

Is my course load good for my sophomore year?

I'm confused about 9th grade, you self-studied for 3 APs and took 3 APs in Human Geo, Psychology, and Chinese and got a (5) AP score in all 3 subjects already? Is that correct? If that's the case you're a genius.

The 2nd thing I'd like clarification on is the following. If you already self-studied for 3 APS and got all 5s on them why would your HS counselor think that self-studying for Micro-Macro Econ would be too much for you? Sound like a much simpler task to complete. If you did that are you saying you would have taken 5 APs by the end of Sophomore year, and most likely have 5 (5) AP scores to report? That is quite impressive.

I think that is quite a 9th/10th academic record in my opinion. I would definitely not overdo it on the APS during 11th/12th. I don't think you would need more than 10 APs total, especially if you can report all those 5s.

What is more problematic is your UWGPA. It's okay you got a B or 2. Moving forward you want to show an upward trend in your UWGPA to try to get a 3.94 by the end of the 10th, which means you'll need a 4.0. And just have the goal of keeping it there, but not less than 3.90 by the time you apply to colleges.

Also, should I start preparing for the NMSQT? I think it depends on a couple of factors.

Since colleges are agnostic about submitting the SAT or ACT, you really always want to submit the test that you have the highest percentile score. So if you max out on the SAT at 1450, but can get a 34 on the ACT, you want to submit the ACT score.

You won't know what you are better at until you take a practice ACT test so I recommend you do that as soon as possible. A 1210 is the same thing as a 25 ACT composite score. So take an ACT practice test and hope for the best. If you score 26 or more on the ACT, then you know you should be focused on studying for the ACT with the goal of getting the highest score possible. If you score 25 or less, then that is a personal judgment call on whether you want to stick with the SAT or not.

If you have super high ACT or SAT that will help your odds of getting into a top college. And typically a top college has the best financial aid. So if you need aid you will want to study the SAT/ACT as much as possible to improve those odds. What is true about the PSAT is that if you get a 99% percentile score somewhere between 1460-1520/ out of 1520, then you will get PSAT Merit Scholar status. For some schools, this might be good enough to get a Merit Scholarship worth a 1/2 tuition or more. But keep in mind 99% of PSAT test-takers DO NOT get that score. So you have to be rather practical and strategic about how much time and effort you put into preparing for that. If you are focused on the PSAT/SAT and your practice test is consistently in the 1300/1370 range for PSAT/SAT, then I would not count on getting that Merit Scholarship status. Keep in mind your PSAT practice tests are always going to be like 50-80 points lower than your SAT practice tests.

But many Top admits are NOT necessarily a PSAT high scorer if that makes sense. And that is because the PSAT only tests you that one 3 hour period sometime in October in your junior year. That may not be when you peak in your standardized testing. For me, my peak was the summer before 12th grade, so that's when I got one of the highest scores in my State and eventually became nominated as a US Presential Scholar. The fact that I didn't have a great PSAT score, and was not a Merit Scholar award winner had ZERO impact on me getting admitted to 2nd hardest college to get into the last cycle. I want to stress that point.

Good luck!

3 years ago

From my experience with AP economics, I would agree with your counselor, but you might be a lot better at that than I am. Also, I don't know what the benefit would be in taking both econ tests.

You seem to be on the right track course-wise. Good job taking initiative with AP!!!

I don't know whether or not 1210 is a good score for your grade level, but it definitely will need improvement if you are wanting to apply for top schools and/or national merit, though! If you are wanting to become a national merit scholar, I would DEFINITELY suggest starting to prepare ASAP.

Good luck with your studies!!!

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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