10th Graders will not be taking the PSAT10 on SAT day

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Victoria Oei and Nikki Ng, Staff Writers

This spring, SAT School Day will take place on March 27 during regular school hours. In previous years, all tenth graders took the PSAT10 while eleventh graders took the official SAT. However, administration has decided that tenth graders will instead take the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall in order to moderate over testing.

Assistant Principal Veronica York said that administrators addressed a concern raised by the Student Wellness Council which “spends a lot of time listening to students and their stress about being over testing.”

According to Ms. York, a lot of consideration went into making this decision. Specifically, she does not believe that students need to be removed from classrooms where they are preparing for upcoming AP exams, when they will be able to take the PSAT a few months from now. “It was really what’s the best for students,” Ms. York said. “How much is overstressing them, what’s the benefit of giving [the PSAT] now. Does it benefit them to take it twice?”

Sophomore Hannah Krayzman expressed her initial doubts in regards to the announcement. “I was wondering how much it benefited the juniors to take it last year, which I feel like we won’t receive [those benefits] because the first PSAT we’ll take in the fall… actually counts towards something” she said.

That ‘something’ is the National Merit Scholarship Program. In order to be considered for this program, which is run by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, high school students must take the PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). According to the official website of the company, “Of the 1.6 million entrants, some 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT® Selection Index scores…qualify for recognition in the National Merit® Scholarship Program.”

Those with top scores have a chance of receiving one of several scholarships, including the National Merit $2,500 Scholarship.

However, Guidance Counselor Sara Skoda explained that the National Merit program can be especially competitive as the company surveys students with “very high strong grades,” resulting in different requirements and “cut offs” each year.

Although the National Merit program is one of the best known and most competitive of scholarship programs, there are many other opportunities to receive scholarships.

While there is no official collection of all scholarships available, Ms. Skoda recommends the online resource “Fastweb” which allows students to find current scholarship opportunities. In addition, she reminds students that the guidance counselors share any scholarship opportunities they come across through Naviance or email.

Senior Jenny Li believes that the PSAT is beneficial for practice in that “it puts you in that test setting— that SAT environment where you can’t really get at home or anywhere else.”

“…When I got my score, I realized where I was at in terms of the SAT,” Jenny said. “I realized whether I needed to prep more, or whether [in] this area I’m okay, and [in] this area I need to work.”

Junior Katherine Chokpaporn did not feel pressured going into her first PSAT last March. “I had been taking SAT prep classes outside, so I knew what to expect,” she said. “It was my first time taking an actual SAT and being timed, but the questions I was already familiar with. So when I took it… it was more like okay, now I can see what my score is.”

Junior Rova Raveloson shares a similar sentiment that the PSAT exposed him to problems and motivated him to start studying to raise his score. However, he recommends that taking one PSAT is enough. “You don’t want to over do it… it would be pointless,” he said. “You should just do the questions that you have problems with and try to understand that because that will improve your grade instead of doing all the easy problems over and over.”

Despite not being able to take a seat for the PSAT during school hours, students now have access to the recently purchased SAT and ACT prep program, Method Test Prep. The program grants “access to practice exams and practice questions” which can be used in order to prepare for the SAT,” Ms. York said.

Understanding that the testing aspects of college preparedness can be stressful, Ms. Skoda encourages “students to just do their best and not get so overwhelmed with the testing.” She said, “You guys are wonderful and academically gifted, and so you guys, you guys will be okay.”

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