By Steven Park

As October 14th approaches, students begin stressing and studying for the preliminary SAT exam that will be administered by ICSU from the first to fifth period.

The preliminary scholastic assessment test (PSAT) is not only good practice for the official SAT but scores from the PSAT are used to identify National Merit Scholars and award merit scholarships. As a result, some students invest countless hours to study for this important exam while others view it as mere practice. Regardless of how students view this exam, it is still a three hour long test that usually drains the students.

Although it is encouraged that students do their best on this exam, many choose not to as they are unaware of the importance of the PSAT. In order to potentially receive merit scholarships for college, one must score exceptionally on the PSAT. The three sections of this extensive exam are divided into reading, writing, no calculator math, and calculator math. Raw scores are taken from each section and converted into two scores for evidence based reading and writing as well as math, each maxing out at 760, totaling to a 1520 max score. 

Some tips to prepare for this assessment include doing practice questions on educational websites, such as Khan Academy which have a variety of different skills that you are able to practice. Practice tests which imitate the actual exam are also extremely useful to help with time management and helps the student get accustomed to how the testing experience is like. Getting sufficient rest before the test day and eating a good breakfast is also crucial to performing well on test day. Most importantly, students should do their best to not stress about this exam. Although it is a very important exam, stressing will only prevent the student from studying and resting properly which will interfere with the student’s performance.

Senior Steven Park notes, “I remember when I took the PSAT for the first time. I had no idea what was going on and I didn’t study at all. Looking back at it now, I really wish I did study as I wasn’t aware of how important the exam actually was.” Some students also claim the PSAT is more difficult than the real SAT which is encouraging for some students as they prepare to take their first SAT exam during their junior year in high school.

To conclude, the value of getting a good score on the PSAT is due to the fact that the score is used to award merit scholarships but it is not a requirement to study or do well at all. Students should do their best to study, but they should refrain from overworking themselves and stressing prior to the test day. Being relaxed and giving it your best effort is what really matters in the long run.