By Marc Catalano|
On Wednesday, October eleventh the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will be taking the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, PSAT for short. For juniors, the PSAT is also the National Merit Scholar Qualifying Test, an opportunity to win scholarships.
The Tuesday before the PSATs, October ninth, students will be shown a list that details where each student shall report for the PSATs. On test day, students are expected to arrive and show up to their PSAT classroom with sharpened Number 2 pencils, erasers, and an approved calculator. Phones must be off during the PSATs.
The freshman PSAT is different than the PSATs for the sophomores and juniors because it’s a preparation for the PSAT. The test is divided into four parts. The first part is a 55 minute reading test with 42 questions, the second part is a 30-minute writing & language test with 40 questions, third is a 2o minute math test with 13 questions where students cannot use a calculator, and the fourth and final is another math test that is 40 minutes and has 25 questions and students can use a calculator. The Morgan School’s Literacy Coach Mr. Messina said, “The PSAT is a good way for students to show how well they read, write, and solve math problems. Students should not put too much pressure on themselves since they will take it again as sophomores and juniors.”
The PSATs are very important because they prepare students for the SATs, which colleges look at for admission. More immediately, it can be used for the junior portfolio as it provides an opportunity to reflect on strengths and weaknesses. More specifically it allows students to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses in reading, writing, language, and math which are the three main focuses of the PSATs. Mr. Messina recommends that students “don’t leave any questions blank, read through each question carefully and pick the answer that makes the most sense.”
It is highly advised that students do not cram the night before. Quite the contrary, it is strongly recommended that students get a good rest and eat a very healthy breakfast. If they are feeling nervous don’t worry. The Henry Carter Hull Library offers free timed practice tests. If students want to know what they’re up against on the eleventh, it might be worth checking out. But wait, there’s more as there is a SAT app that will give students a random SAT practice question every day!