This morning the Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors will find themselves sitting through a long couple of hours as they complete the PSAT. For some, this will be their first glimpse of what is to come with standardized testing. For some, it’ll be their second chance, while others will be working to accomplish what 18 students accomplished at East High this year, National Merit Semifinalist.
The PSAT (or Pre-SAT) is a test that mimics the SAT. The questions asked, how they are asked, and the format of the test are made so that they can resemble the SAT without giving the full blown test. The PSAT is great preparation for the SAT because, not only does it put you in a testing situation identical to that when you take the actual test, but it also familiarizes you with the format of the SAT and gives you examples of what to expect on the real test.
Many people I know spent hours studying for this test. For many, these long hours of drilling themselves with prep books and flash cards allowed for them to get scores that were excellent, and many of those that spent a lot of time studying got the title of National Merit Semifinalist. But if you don’t get the National Merit score, or feel you could have done better, do not be discouraged. Remember this only gives you an idea of how the test works and how well you will score on the SAT (on the PSAT the scores are out of 80 rather than 800). These scores may not always hold true, for me they reflected my first test score, but not the second (I improved my score by nearly 100 points the second time).
Although the PSAT is a great way to prepare, don’t let it discourage you. Although your score may be accurate to a degree, your score is not set in stone. So take advantage of all opportunities, but I highly recommend taking the PSAT because of how well it does prepare you for the SAT in the long run.