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Exam Code: PSAT Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test get November 2023 by team

PSAT Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and
college scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit
Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying
Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.6 million entrants
each year, and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements.

To enter the National Merit Scholarship Program and compete for recognition and 8,700
scholarships to be offered in 2021:

• Take the PSAT/NMSQT in October 2019.

• Meet other entry requirements.

Program entrants must take the test in the specified year of the high school program
(see page 6). The 2019 PSAT/NMSQT is the qualifying test for entry to the 2021
program. Most entrants will complete high school and enroll in college in 2021.

The National Merit® Scholarship Program is an annual
academic competition among high school students for
recognition and college scholarships. The program is
conducted by National Merit Scholarship Corporation
(NMSC), a not-for-profit organization that operates
without government assistance.

The 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship
Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) is the qualifying
test for entry to the 2021 National Merit Program. (The
PSAT™ 10 and PSAT™ 8/9 will NOT be considered for
entry to the National Merit Scholarship Program.) The
competition will span about 18 months from entry in the
fall of 2019 until the spring of 2021 when scholarships
for college undergraduate study will be awarded. It is
expected that about 4 million students will take the
PSAT/NMSQT in 2019, and approximately 1.6 million
of them will meet requirements to enter this program.

To enter the 2021 National Merit Program, a student
needs to meet all of the following requirements. A
student must:

1. be enrolled as a high school student (traditional
or homeschooled), progressing normally toward
graduation or completion of high school by 2021,
and planning to accept admission to college no later
than the fall of 2021;

2. attend high school in the United States, District of
Columbia, or U.S. commonwealths and territories;
or meet the citizenship requirements for students
attending high school outside the United States (see

To participate in the National Merit Program, students
must take the PSAT/NMSQT in the specified year of
their high school program. Because a student can
participate (and be considered for a scholarship) in
only one specific competition year, the year in which
the student takes the PSAT/NMSQT to enter the
competition is very important.

1. Students who plan to spend the usual four years in
high school (grades 9 through 12) before entering
college full time must take the qualifying test in
their third year of high school (grade 11, junior year).
Sophomores who take the 2019 PSAT/NMSQT
but plan to spend four years in grades 9 through
12 will not meet entry requirements for the 2021
National Merit Program. They must take the
PSAT/NMSQT again in 2020 (when they are
juniors) to enter the competition that will end
when scholarships are awarded in 2022, the year
they will complete high school and enter college.

2. Students who plan to leave high school early to
enroll in college full time after spending three years
or less in grades 9 through 12 usually can participate
in the National Merit Program if they take the
PSAT/NMSQT before they enroll in college. To
enter the competition for awards offered in 2021,
these students must be in either the next-to-last or
the last year of high school when they take the 2019

a. if they are in the next-to-last year of high school
when they take the 2019 PSAT/NMSQT, awards
will be offered as they are finishing their last year
of high school; or

b. if they are in their last year of high school when
they take the 2019 PSAT/NMSQT, awards will
be offered the year after they have completed
high school.

Students who plan to participate in a postsecondary enrollment options program (through
which they enroll simultaneously in both high school
and college) must take the qualifying test in their
third year of high school (grade 11, junior year). To
enter the competition that ends when scholarships
are offered in 2021, these students must be in their
third year of high school when they take the 2019
PSAT/NMSQT, the same as all other students who
plan to spend four years in grades 9 through 12.
The high school determines whether a student is
participating in a post-secondary enrollment options
program and certifies the students status.

4. Students who plan to take five years to complete
grades 9 through 12 can participate in the National
Merit Program if they take the PSAT/NMSQT in
the third year of high school and again in the fourth
year. These students Selection Index scores will not
be eligible for the program until a written request
for entry to the competition is approved by NMSC.
The request should include the students name, high
school name and location, year the student began
high school, year the student will complete high
school, and a brief explanation of the students
educational pattern.

NMSC will use the students Selection Index score
from the PSAT/NMSQT taken in the students third year
of grades 9 through 12 to determine the expected level
of recognition. In order to be recognized in the fifth
(final) year of high school, the student must take
the PSAT/NMSQT again in the fourth year, and
earn a qualifying Selection Index score at or above
the level achieved on the third year test. The level
of recognition a student receives cannot exceed the
level earned on the qualifying test taken during the
students third year in grades 9 through 12, the year
in which all other competitors are considered.

NMSC uses PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index scores
(calculated by doubling the sum of the Reading,
Writing and Language, and Math Test scores) as an
initial screen of some 1.6 million program entrants.
The 2019 Selection Index scores of all students who
meet entry requirements for the 2021 program will be
considered. In the spring of 2020, NMSC will ask high
school principals to identify any errors or changes in the
reported eligibility of their high scorers (students whose
Selection Index scores will qualify them for recognition
in the fall of 2020).

Commended Students. In September 2020, more than
two-thirds (about 34,000) of the high scorers will be
designated Commended Students. They will be named
on the basis of a nationally applied Selection Index
qualifying score that may vary from year to year.
In recognition of their outstanding ability and
potential for academic success in college, these students
will be honored with Letters of Commendation sent to
them through their high schools. Although Commended
Students will not continue in the competition for
National Merit Scholarships, some may be candidates
for Special Scholarships offered by corporate sponsors. NMSC will notify those candidates in
November 2020.

Semifinalists. Some 16,000 of the high scorers,
representing less than 1 percent of the nations high
school graduating seniors, will qualify as Semifinalists.
Only Semifinalists will have an opportunity to advance
in the competition for Merit Scholarship® awards.
NMSC will notify Semifinalists of their standing and
send scholarship application materials to them through
their high schools in September 2020. Their names will
be sent to regionally accredited four-year U.S. colleges
and universities and released to local news media for
public announcement in mid-September.

NMSC designates Semifinalists in the program on a
state-representational basis to ensure that academically
able young people from all parts of the United States
are included in this talent pool. Using the latest data
available, an allocation of Semifinalists is determined for
each state, based on the states percentage of the national
total of high school graduating seniors. For example,
the number of Semifinalists in a state that enrolls
approximately two percent of the nations graduating
seniors would be about 320 (2 percent of the 16,000

NMSC then arranges the Selection Index scores of
all National Merit Program participants within a state in
descending order. The score at which a states allocation
is most closely filled becomes the Semifinalist qualifying
score. Entrants with a Selection Index score at or above
the qualifying score are named Semifinalists. As a result
of this process, Semifinalist qualifying scores vary from
state to state and from year to year, but the scores of all
Semifinalists are extremely high.

In addition to Semifinalists designated in each of
the 50 states and without affecting the allocation to any
state, Semifinalists are named in several other selection
units that NMSC establishes for the competition. These
units are for students attending schools in the District of
Columbia, schools in U.S. commonwealths and territories,
schools in other countries that enroll U.S. citizens, and
U.S. boarding schools that enroll a sizable proportion of
their students from outside the state in which the school
is located. A participant can be considered for Semifinalist
standing in only one state or selection unit, based on the
high school in which the student is regularly enrolled
when taking the PSAT/NMSQT.

Finalists. A Semifinalist must fulfill several additional
requirements and advance to the Finalist level of the
competition before being considered for a National
Merit Scholarship. Over 90 percent (about 15,000)
of the Semifinalists are expected to become Finalists
and receive a Certificate of Merit attesting to their
distinguished performance in the competition.
Only Finalists will be considered for the 7,600 National
Merit Scholarships. Approximately half of the Finalists
will be Merit Scholarship winners (Merit Scholar®
awardees). Winners are chosen on the basis of their
abilities, skills, and accomplishments—without regard
to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.
Scholarship recipients are the candidates judged to have
the greatest potential for success in rigorous college
studies and beyond.

To receive a scholarship payment, a Merit Scholarship
winner must notify NMSC of plans to (a) enroll in a
college or university in the United States that holds
accredited status with a regional accrediting commission
on higher education, and (b) enroll full time in an
undergraduate course of study leading to a traditional
baccalaureate degree. NMSC scholarship stipends are
not payable for attendance at service academies or
certain institutions that are limited in their purposes
or training.

The selection process involves evaluating substantial
amounts of information about Finalists obtained from
both students and their high schools. Included are the
Finalists academic record (course load and difficulty
level, depth and breadth of subjects studied, and grades
earned); standardized test scores; the students essay;
demonstrated leadership and contributions to school
and community activities; and the school officials written
recommendation and characterization of the Finalist.
The same process is used to select Special Scholarship
winners for a corporate sponsors awards.

Types of Scholarships
Some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships of three types
and approximately 1,100 Special Scholarships will
be awarded in 2021; these 8,700 awards will have a
combined value of about $41 million. Different types of
scholarships will be offered, but no student can receive
more than one monetary award from NMSC.

National Merit® $2500 Scholarships. These awards are
unique because every Finalist is considered for one and
winners are named in every state and other selection
unit. The number awarded in each state is determined by
the same representational procedure used to designate
Semifinalists. Finalists compete with all other Finalists in
their state or selection unit for one of the 2,500 National
Merit $2500 Scholarships. Winners are selected by a
committee of college admission officers and high school

National Merit $2500 Scholarships provide a single
payment of $2,500. NMSCs own funds support the
majority of these scholarships, but corporate sponsors
help underwrite these awards with grants they provide
to NMSC in lieu of paying administrative fees.
Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test
SAT SAT/National download

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PSAT Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test
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Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying
Question: 1040
You purchase a car making a down payment of $3,000 and 6 monthly payments of $225. How much have you paid so far for the car?
A. $3225
B. $4350
C. $5375
D. $6550
E. $6398
Answer: B
Question: 1041
You need to purchase a textbook for nursing school. The book cost $80.00, and the sales tax where you are purchasing the book is 8.25%. You
have $100. How much change will you receive back?
A. $5.20
B. $7.35
C. $13.40
D. $19.95
E. $21.25
Answer: C
Question: 1042
If 8x + 5x + 2x + 4x = 114, the 5x + 3 =
A. 12
B. 25
C. 33
D. 47
E. 86
Answer: C
Question: 1043
Lee worked 22 hours this week and made $132. If she works 15 hours next week at the same pay rate, how much will she make?
A. $57
B. $90
C. $104
D. $112
E. $122
Answer: B
Question: 1044
If 300 jellybeans cost you x dollars. How many jellybeans can you purchase for 50 cents at the same rate?
A. 150/x
B. 150x
C. 6x
D. 1500/x
E. 600x
Answer: A
Question: 1045
If r = 5z then 15z = 3y, then r =
A. y
B. 2y
C. 5y
D. 10y
E. 15y
Answer: A
Question: 1046
Grace has 16 jellybeans in her pocket. She has 8 red ones, 4 green ones, and 4 blue ones. What is the minimum number of jellybeans she must take
out of her pocket to ensure that she has one of each color?
A. 4
B. 8
C. 12
D. 13
E. 16
Answer: D
Question: 1047
Simon arrived at work at 8:15 A.M. and left work at 10: 30 P.M. If Simon gets paid by the hour at a rate of $10 and time and 1/2 for any hours
worked over 8 in a day. How much did Simon get paid?
A. $120.25
B. $160.75
C. $173.75
D. $180
E. $182.50
Answer: C
Question: 1048
A student receives his grade report from a local community college, but the GPA is smudged. He took the following classes: a 2 hour credit art, a 3
hour credit history, a 4 hour credit science course, a 3 hour credit mathematics course, and a
1 hour science lab. He received a "B" in the art class, an "A" in the history class, a "C" in the science class, a "B" in the mathematics class, and an
"A" in the science lab. What was his GPA if the letter grades are based on a 4 point scale? (A = 4, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, F = 0)
A. 2.7
B. 2.8
C. 3.0
D. 3.1
E. 3.2
Answer: C
Question: 1049
The city council has decided to add a 0.3% tax on motel and hotel rooms. If a traveler spends the night in a motel room that costs $55 before taxes,
how much will the city receive in taxes from him?
A. 10 cents
B. 11 cents
C. 15 cents
D. 17 cents
E. 21 cents
Answer: D
Question: 1050
Jim is able to sell a hand-carved statue for $670 which was a 35% profit over his cost. How much did the statue originally cost him?
A. $496.30
B. $512.40
C. $555.40
D. $574.90
E. $588.20
Answer: A
Question: 1051
Alfred wants to invest $4,000 at 6% simple interest rate for 5 years. How much interest will he receive?
A. $240
B. $480
C. $720
D. $960
E. $1,200
Answer: E
Question: 1052
If Leah is 6 years older than Sue, and John is 5 years older than Leah, and the total of their ages is 41. Then how old is Sue?
A. 8
B. 10
C. 14
D. 19
E. 21
Answer: A
Question: 1053
Solve the following equation for A:
2A/3 = 8 + 4A
A. -2.4
B. 2.4
C. 1.3
D. -1.3
E. 0
Answer: A
Question: 1054
The sales price of a car is $12,590, which is 20% off the original price. What is the original price?
A. $14,310.40
B. $14,990.90
C. $15,290.70
D. $15,737.50
E. $16,935.80
Answer: D
Question: 1055
Employees of a discount appliance store receive an additional 20% off of the lowest price on an item. If an employee purchases a dishwasher
during a 15% off sale, how much will he pay if the dishwasher originally cost $450?
A. $280.90
B. $287
C. $292.50
D. $306
E. $333.89
Answer: D
Question: 1056
If Sally can paint a house in 4 hours, and John can paint the same house in 6 hour, how long will it take for both of them to paint the house
A. 2 hours and 24 minutes
B. 3 hours and 12 minutes
C. 3 hours and 44 minutes
D. 4 hours and 10 minutes
E. 4 hours and 33 minutes
Answer: A
Question: 1057
If Lynn can type a page in p minutes, what piece of the page can she do in 5 minutes?
A. 5/p
B. p 5
C. p + 5
D. p/5
E. 1 p + 5
Answer: A
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SAT SAT/National get - BingNews Search results SAT SAT/National get - BingNews 4 Reasons Your PSAT Scores Matter No result found, try new keyword!the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, or PSAT/NMSQT. Like the SAT, the PSAT is produced by the not-for-profit College Board, but students usually take it at their school ... Tue, 14 Nov 2023 17:30:00 -0600 College Board announces new digital SAT exams

The College Board, the organization that administers standardized assessments like the SAT and PSAT, announced today that tests will be delivered digitally internationally in 2023 and in the United States by 2024.

The change doesn’t mean that the popular and controversial college entrance exam can be taken from home. Schools and official testing centers will continue to offer the exams with a proctor.

“The digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give and more relevant,” said Priscilla Rodriguez, vice president of college readiness assessments at the College Board. “We’re not simply putting the current SAT on a digital platform. We’re taking full advantage of what delivering an assessment digitally makes possible.”

The digital SAT will take less time, shortening from three hours to two. The exam will feature shorter reading passages but include a wider range of topics. Calculators may be used for the entire math section, and students will get their scores back within days instead of weeks. Students may also use their own devices like laptops or tablets to take the exam. The exam also will automatically save a student’s progress if they lose internet connectivity.

The new system also ensures every student receives a unique test, making it “practically impossible” to share answers.

Mon, 24 Jan 2022 14:59:00 -0600 en text/html
Using AI to Help Students Prepare for the SAT

Preparing students for the SAT can be a daunting task, to say the least. While providing opportunities to practice test-taking skills can show strong results, the process of selecting texts, writing SAT-aligned questions, and grading can take up hours of work time. Additionally, using class time to focus on test preparation often feels like it’s taking instructional time away from the scope and sequence of a course.

Together, these challenges lead many teachers to opt out of preparing students for a test that still has a significant impact on a student’s available pathways to success after high school. However, thanks to AI tools, all teachers can be empowered to equip students with the skills needed for success on college entrance exams without the stress.

In our digital age, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) tools into the classroom has the potential to greatly enhance SAT preparation for both teachers and students. With platforms like and ChatGPT, educators can provide a multitude of materials for their students. These tools, when combined with others like the Form Builder extension for Google Docs, allow teachers to quickly generate SAT-style reading questions from any given text, thereby facilitating the assessment of students’ comprehension skills.

This not only saves time and provides quick and useful data but also ensures that the texts used are relevant to the curriculum and students’ current reality.

Using the Tools

The first task for creating test-preparation materials is selecting a text, something that can be accomplished with ease using AI. Teachers can use texts that are already a part of their curriculum because SAT-style questions can be generated for any text as long as it can be copied into or the chosen AI software. Additionally, one of the most significant advantages of AI technology is that it empowers teachers to create custom nonfiction texts on courses specific to their classes. Academic Content Generator, one of’s many tools, lets teachers create useful and relevant nonfiction texts by merely inputting a grade level, length, topic, and content type (news article, textbook page, short narrative, etc.). 

Once a text is selected, teachers can use AI tools to generate exam-style reading questions and assignment prompts tailored to their students’ needs and differentiated levels. All the teacher has to do is copy a text into the AI tool of their choice. We prefer’s SAT reading Question tool, but other programs can be used. Additionally, many commonly used texts are already known by the AI. For example, we’ve created SAT-style questions on The Crucible, Dracula, Frankenstein, and To Kill a Mockingbird for English language arts classes by simply inputting the title and chapter number.

The integration of the Google Docs Form Builder extension adds even more convenience by enabling teachers to convert the AI-generated reading questions into a Google Form. All you have to do is copy AI-generated questions into a Google Doc and Form Builder can convert it into a Google Form with a click of the mouse. Forms can be set up to provide automatic graded feedback through answer key selection. It also allows for preprogrammed prompts to redirect students when they give incorrect answers, using content provided by the instructor.

This eliminates the need for manual grading and gives students immediate feedback, making the learning process more efficient. Students can then take charge of their own learning, asking specific questions for better understanding, while teachers can identify areas that need reteaching.

For additional support, there are other time-saving tools, like Quetab, Yippity, and Curipod, that offer additional features such as flash cards, quizzes, and interactive classroom slide decks. These tools enhance the overall learning experience by providing interactive and engaging activities that help students reinforce their knowledge and skills.

When using any AI tool to create material, it’s important that you review the material yourself to check for any errors. Still, the amount of time saved overall makes it easy to do a quick accuracy check. 

Implementing AI-Generated Test Prep Into the Classroom

Once a text is selected and SAT-style questions are generated, there are several ways that teachers can use these materials in class to support success.

  • First, test preparation can be the focus of daily bell-ringer tasks before your typical course instruction. The selected text can be used to give context for the lesson taught during class.
  • Second, you can generate SAT-style reading questions to place alongside subject-specific questions following a reading task. For example, if you teach a psychology course, you might have students read and respond to questions about principles of psychology alongside SAT-style questions covering the same text.
  • Third, you can challenge students to do better than the AI. You can generate SAT-style reading questions for a text and have students analyze and rewrite the questions to see if their questions can be better at measuring an SAT skill.
  • Finally, SAT-style question sets can be given as supplemental tasks for students who desire more exam preparation or for students to work on when done with the regular learning tasks that they are assigned.

While the technology is best utilized within the core classes covered by the exam, we’ve also used in Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) courses to render kitchen math problems, texts, and other standards-based concepts in an SAT-style format. These materials are used in problem trails, tests, and quizzes to reinforce math and English standards while continuing to support FACS skills. With the Google Docs Form Builder extension, we convert the quiz questions into self-grading Google Forms, creating quick, accurate data valuable for personalized reteaching.

This approach helps students use their knowledge in real-life scenarios encountered in standardized tests. Using data from assessments to personalize content based on student knowledge, skills, and experiences enhances engagement and allows students to explore the subject matter more deeply. The use of AI tools in SAT preparation revolutionizes the way students learn and engage with the material.

By leveraging these technological advancements, teachers can provide their students with a comprehensive and interactive learning experience that ultimately prepares them for success in college and their careers after high school. Embracing AI in the classroom not only enhances SAT preparation but also equips students with valuable digital literacy skills, ensuring that they are well-prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.

Thu, 09 Nov 2023 08:00:00 -0600 en text/html
Incoming freshmen defy national SAT score trends

As one of the most academically qualified classes in Tufts history, the class of 2011 has no shortage of impressive test scores from high school. But their accomplishments may be even more impressive in light of national trends.

According to an article published by US News and World Report on Aug. 28, average SAT scores fell nationwide for the second year in a row. Critical reading scores dropped one point to 502 while math and writing scores fell three points to 515 and 494, respectively.

Roughly 1.5 million high school seniors took the test. Of those, a greater percentage of students than ever were characterized as minority and/or low-income students, who traditionally have had less exposure to the SAT. The College Board pointed to both the size and diversity of this year's test takers as explanations for the downward trend.

But as scores fell for high school seniors nationwide, Tufts' class of 2011 was unaffected by the trend. According to Tufts' admissions Web site, incoming freshmen had an average combined score of 1405, tying the class of 2010 for the highest SAT scores by a freshmen class.

Associate Director of Enrollment Walker Coppedge was not surprised that Tufts' students' SAT scores defied the national drop-off.

"It's important to remember that Tufts is a highly selective school," Coppedge said. "The types of students who are applying to Tufts are often the top students in their high schools and therefore [it's] not surprising necessarily that their scores are going to be high and remain high relative to the broader population that might be applying to less selective [schools]."

While their own high scores may or may not be more significant in light of the national drop-off, freshmen interviewed downplayed the overall importance of the test.

Freshman Matt Darsney said that when it comes to measuring a person's intelligence, the SATs are "a pretty poor gauge."

Megan Sligar, another freshman, agreed, saying that she "didn't place any importance on [the SAT]."

For sophomore Ben Peirce, the newly-added essay section of the test depended too much on the potentially inconsistent appraisal of testers to convince him that it was an accurate measure of a person's writing ability.

"I wasn't a big fan of the essay," Peirce said. "It didn't make it standardized. You have so many different people grading your essay."

Coppedge said that students who have had more practice with the test are more likely to do better.

"Different students have had different levels of exposure to the test," Coppedge said. "So much of having success on standardized tests is being familiar with the procedure."

Darsney agreed: "It's such a standardized test. If you're taught to the test more than to the material you'll do better."

While students may not feel that the test is particularly significant in terms of a person's abilities, students said there is a sense that high schools have put an increasing amount of weight on preparing students to take the test.

"I think there's a lot more emphasis these days put on the SAT," Silgar said. "I prepared in school ... and I took the PSAT."

Darsney agreed.

"I think more people study for [the SAT]," he said, adding that his high school also offered opportunities for students to prepare for the SATs.

Darsney said that he and others from his school began preparing for the SATs as early as their sophomore year, and that as the time to actually take the exam came closer, students were focused.

With colleges becoming increasingly competitive, Coppedge said he understands that high school students are likely to become increasingly aware of the test.

"There's a lot of buzz around the importance of taking the SAT," he said. "There's a growing market around SAT prep, and I'm sure a lot of students are taking advantage of that."

Coppedge was quick to add, however, that for Tufts, SAT scores are only one aspect of an application.

"First and foremost, we really take a holistic view of the admission process ... the SAT is one part," Coppedge said. "While it helps to frame specific students relative to students across the country ... it's by no means the end-all, be-all of an application."

Darsney said that his impression was that Tufts looked beyond standardized test scores when considering his application. "I felt like Tufts stressed SAT scores less than other schools I applied to," Darsney said. "I felt like Tufts wanted a personality."

Sat, 11 Nov 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html
UNPACKING THE BACKPACK – The new SAT is a joke No result found, try new keyword!As an AP English teacher and a former standardized test coordinator, I have ample reason to complain about the College Board, the non-profit organization responsible for the SAT, the PSAT, and ... Thu, 09 Nov 2023 05:04:00 -0600 The Download: defining AGI, and making sense of the complicated universe

This is today's edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what's going on in the world of technology.

Google DeepMind wants to define what counts as artificial general intelligence

AGI, or artificial general intelligence, is one of the hottest courses in tech today. It’s also one of the most controversial. A big part of the problem is that few people agree on what the term even means. 

AGI typically means artificial intelligence that matches (or outmatches) humans on a range of tasks. But specifics about what counts as human-like, what tasks, and how many all tend to get waved away: AGI is AI, but better.

Now a team of Google DeepMind researchers has put out a paper that cuts through the cross talk with not just one new definition for AGI — but a whole taxonomy of them.

We got an exclusive insight into how the Google DeepMind team came up with their definitions—including five ascending levels of AGI—and what they’re hoping to achieve. Read the full story.

—Will Douglas Heaven

Exclusive: Behind Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s push to get AI tools in developers’ hands

Satya Nadella is obsessed with developers. The Microsoft CEO has been doing the rounds at various conferences over the past few weeks, surprising attendees at OpenAI’s DevDay and GitHub Universe with unannounced appearances last week.

He also took to the stage yesterday speaking to developers at Microsoft Ignite, explaining all the ways in which devs can take advantage of its new AI-based tools to build exciting new systems and experiences. But he also had a message: The way we create software is fundamentally changing.

Nadella took time out of his busy schedule to sit down with Mat Honan, our editor in chief, to discuss the transition to natural language AI tools, some of which he argues will lower the barrier to entry for software development, and ultimately lead to a new era of creativity. Read the full story.

Why is the universe so complex and beautiful?

Why isn’t the universe boring? It could be. It could be just a monotonous desert of sameness. Instead, we have a universe filled with stars and planets, canyons and waterfalls, pine trees and people. But why is any of this stuff here?

Cosmologists have pieced together an answer to this question over the past half-century, using a variety of increasingly complex experiments and observational instruments. But as is nearly always the case in science, that answer is incomplete. 

Now, with new experiments of breathtaking sensitivity, physicists are hoping to spot a never-before-seen event that could explain one of the great remaining mysteries in that story: why there was any matter around to form complicated things in the first place. Read the full story.

—Adam Becker

‘Why is the universe so complex and beautiful?’ is part of our new mini-series The Biggest Questions, which explores how technology is helping probe some of the deepest, most mind-bending mysteries of our existence.

Read more: 

+ How did life begin? AI is helping chemists unpick the mysteries around the origins of life and detect signs of it on other worlds. Read the full story.

+ Are we alone in the universe? Scientists are training machine-learning models and designing instruments to hunt for life on other worlds. Read the full story.

+ Is it possible to really understand someone else’s mind? How we think, feel and experience the world is a mystery to everyone but us. But technology may be starting to help us understand the minds of others. Read the full story.

What’s coming next for fusion research

The concept behind fusion is pretty simple: the power source could provide consistent energy from widely available fuel without producing radioactive waste. But making a fusion power plant a reality will require a huge amount of science and technology progress. Though some milestones have been reached, many are yet to come.

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory made headlines around the world when it achieved what’s called net energy gain, finally demonstrating that fusion reactions can generate more energy than is used to start them up, last year.

This week at our EmTech MIT event, our climate reporter Casey Crownhart sat down with Kimberly Budil, the lab’s director, to hear more about this moment for fusion research, where the national labs fit in, and where we go from here. Read the full story.

This story is from The Spark, our weekly newsletter giving you the inside track on all things climate and energy. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Wednesday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 US investigators don’t know how many times Cruise cars have hit people
Mainly because its safety incident reporting system isn’t fit for purpose. (404 Media)
+ Robotaxis are here. It’s time to decide what to do about them. (MIT Technology Review)

2 Antisemitic and Islamophobic hate speech is surging online
The Israel-Gaza conflict is driving a huge spike in hate speech across both mainstream and more niche social platforms. (NYT $)
+ Google workers are protesting its contract with the Israeli government. (The Intercept)
+ How scientists are being squeezed to take sides in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. (MIT Technology Review)

3 SpaceX is preparing to launch its Starship rocket tomorrow
It’s been seven long months since its first launch test exploded mid-air. (The Verge)
+ The FFA is confident everything should run smoothly a second time. (CNBC)
+ Japan’s Ispace startup is planning a second launch, too. (Bloomberg $)

4 Nutrition influencers have landed in hot water
US regulators are clamping down on health social media stars who fail to disclose their financial backers. (WP $)
+ The AI doctor will see you now. (The Information $)

5 Meta is loosening its political advertising rules
Including allowing ads critiquing the 2020 US Presidential election’s legitimacy. (WSJ $)
+ The company is fighting back against the EU’s accusation that it's a gatekeeper. (Reuters)

7 The complicated reality of deepfakes
Synthetic media is worrying—but its real, tangible harms have yet to be realized. (New Yorker $)
+ The biggest threat of deepfakes isn’t the deepfakes themselves. (MIT Technology Review)

8 Teenagers are being exposed to traumatic content while training AI
 Underage workers are labeling vast datasets for AI firms, and witnessing the internet’s worst offerings in the process. (Wired $)
+ Google is starting to let teens use its Bard chatbot. (The Verge)
+ We are all AI’s free data workers. (MIT Technology Review)

9 A new treatment for Alzheimer’s could be on the horizon
Harnessing young neurons could help to preserve a person’s memory. (Economist $)

10 Cassette tapes refuse to die
A full 60 years after the very first compact cassette went on sale. (The Guardian)

Quote of the day

But this and other open-source programs are built by scraping images from the internet, often without permission and proper attribution to artists. As a result, they are raising tricky questions about ethics and copyright. And artists like Rutkowski have had enough. Read the full story.

—Melissa Heikkilä

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. (Got any ideas? Drop me a line or tweet 'em at me.)

+ As websites go, they don’t get much better than Pimp That Snack.
+ This saxophonist is having the absolute time of his life.
+ Upload a drawing to Meta’s system, and turn it into a clever lil animation.
+ Water is a real challenge to represent in video games—but it’s getting better all the time.
+ The only brief history I’m interested in is the brief history of mashed potatoes.

Wed, 15 Nov 2023 23:11:00 -0600 en text/html
New fully digital SAT to be released in 2024 – Here’s everything students need to know

INDIANA – The SAT – a standardized test widely used for college admissions – has been used for almost 100 years. However, as of 2024, big changes are happening with the test switching to a fully digital format – and some students are more apprehensive about the change than others. 

Data revealed searches for ‘digital PSAT practice test’ are up a whopping 2,500% in the past 90 days, with breakout searches for many other related queries such as ‘digital sat format’ and ‘PSAT digital format’ indicating this course is definitely on students’ minds.   

So, to help ease anxiety about the upcoming changes, Nootroedge has compiled a list of the top five things students need to know about the new test format. 

  1. As of spring 2024, the test will be fully digital 

Starting in spring 2024, all students will take the SAT digitally. Once the change has been made, it will no longer be possible to take a pencil and paper version of the exam (except for students who test with accommodations that require a paper and pencil test). The digital SAT will cost you $60, plus a $43 regional fee. This fee is the same as the standard paper-and-pencil SAT for international students.

  1. The PSATs are already being tested digitally 

The PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 8/9 have just been conducted digitally so that the students who will be taking the SAT as juniors in the spring of 2024 have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the digital testing experience before taking the digital SAT.

  1. The test will now be shorter 

The digital SAT will be shorter than the current paper and pencil test—around two hours instead of three, which will make it easier for students who struggle to concentrate over an extended period of time. 

  1. The digital SAT will be an adaptive test 

The new test will use computerized adaptive testing (CAT) technology to adapt the questions in real time. The test will assess students’ abilities and provide easier or harder questions based on their performance. 

  1. The test will now have two sections instead of three

The test will now have just two sections – section 1: reading and Writing and section 2: Math, as opposed to the old test, which has three separate sections. Moreover, a calculator will now be allowed for the entire maths section of the paper. 

Some excellent benefits from the new digital test format include a faster delivery of scores, with the hopes it will be days instead of weeks for results – perfect for the students who find waiting for results extremely stressful or who need to know their next steps. 

Additionally, the test will have an adaptive testing style that provides tailored questions to meet student’s needs. Furthermore, the digital format provides increased test security, as currently, if one test form is compromised, it can mean canceling scores for whole groups of students.

The College Board has recently released a preview of the Bluebook application to help students get familiar with the digital SAT testing interface. The Bluebook app comes with a few full-length practice questions that you can practice. CollegeBoard also provided a downloadable pdf of the digital SAT sample questions.

You can also take SAT practice questions in the traditional format to sharpen your skills and enhance your subject knowledge. UWorld’s Online practice questions for the SAT come with in-depth answer explanations and self-assessment tools to help you develop a baseline for your SAT preparation and learn the content of the test. Of course, UWorld authors are hard at work creating questions that match the format of the new digital SAT.

Despite the many great benefits of the new test, there is no doubt that students will be apprehensive about the changes.

Tue, 07 Nov 2023 04:28:00 -0600 en-US text/html
The New SAT Results Aren’t Pretty No result found, try new keyword!The College Board reported this week that scores on the SAT have sunk to the lowest point ... eighth-grade students in reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Thu, 03 Sep 2015 20:00:00 -0500 en-US text/html Cal State board officially eliminates SAT/ACT for admissions

CSU’s Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to eliminate using standardized tests like the SAT and ACT for admission to its 23 campuses.

The 23-campus system — the nation’s largest public university system — became the latest to remove the standardized testing requirement and replace it with a so-called multifactor admission score that allows colleges to consider 21 factors. Those factors include work experience, leadership roles, extracurricular activities and special status such as foster youth, first-generation or military.

As of March 1, more than 1,820 four-year colleges and universities, including the University of California, have eliminated the SAT or ACT from admission requirements, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

Advocates for underrepresented students had argued that the standardized tests discriminated against them.

“This decision aligns with the California State University’s continued efforts to level the playing field and provide greater access to a high-quality college degree for students from all backgrounds,” said Acting Chancellor Steve Relyea. “In essence, we are eliminating our reliance on a high-stress, high-stakes test that has shown negligible benefit and providing our applicants with greater opportunities to demonstrate their drive, talents and potential for college success.”

Tue, 22 Mar 2022 05:01:00 -0500 en text/html
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Wed, 18 Oct 2023 05:44:00 -0500 en-US text/html

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