PSAT Updates

PSAT+Updates

Shruti Viswanath, Staff Writer

Every fall, most sophomores of Central Bucks South hear about a certain test for the very first time: the PSAT. The PSAT is an acronym for Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test. CB South’s librarian, Mr. Pecic, said that it is “for sophomores and juniors, and it is a good way to get prepared for the SAT test.”

This year, the PSAT is offered on Wednesday, October 14th at CB South. Registration was on the school website (http://www.cbsd.org/Domain/29) under the section NEWS FROM CB SOUTH. Registration ended on Oct. 2.

High school students have the opportunity to take this test twice, once during the fall of their sophomore year and another time during the fall of their junior year. Neither of the scores from either attempt will ever make it to the colleges, unless someone qualifies for a scholarship.

In order to be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship, a student should have a good score when he or she took the test in the fall of his or her junior year. This score is not a concrete number because it varies on the scores of other test takers in the country and changes from year to year.

Last year, this score was 216 (the highest score being 240), but the whole format of the test has changed so nobody can be certain of what it takes to get in. Just prepare sincerely and try your best. If you work hard and qualify as a semifinalist or a finalist, you have a chance to win scholarship money towards your college education.

The format of the PSAT has changed slightly this year to match up with the new SAT, which is being offered in the spring of 2016 for the first time. The PSAT is now 2 hours and 45 minutes, and consists of an evidence-based reading and writing section and a math section. Scores range from 320-1520, and with the new format, there is no penalty for guessing.

There are many ways someone can prepare for this test. Mr. Pecic said that he would “recommend ePrep because in ePrep, you can take not just the practice test, but there are videos which will show you how to do questions if you got them wrong.” Make sure to take as many practice tests from ePrep before the PSAT, and reach out to Mr. Pecic to create an account if you don’t already have one.

In case you aren’t prepared for the PSAT, don’t worry about it because chances are, you have a million other things that factor into your college applications, and it’s the SATs that are the “real deal.”

If you do decide to pursue the PSAT, please realize that cramming doesn’t work. By the time you take the test, you should be confident of the score you will achieve. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep, have a healthy and hearty breakfast, and bring backup pencils and a calculator to South this October 14th. Good luck!

If you have any more questions about the format of the test or information about the National Merit Scholarship, go to the College Board website: (https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt-psat-10)