Finding motivation for the PSAT


Bryte Bu

Cooper Lienhart, junior, studies for the PSAT.

The dreaded junior year testing craze officially kicked off with the PSAT the week after Homecoming. For most kids, the PSAT is used as an indicator of whether or not they should take the actual SAT in the coming spring. For others, the PSAT is the only means of qualifying for National Merit, a scholarship program awarded to kids who score above a certain amount of points.

The test itself took place Oct. 15, where hundreds of students gathered in the field house. For three and a half hours, students filled in their bubble sheets. Each test consisted of the typical math, reading, and grammar portions, similar to that of the real SAT. However, the SAT is actually twice as long.

Students had varying approaches to the test.

“To prepare for the PSAT, I took a study guide from the guidance office,” said Cooper Lienhart, junior. “I hope my scores will show me how well I could do on an actual SAT. Tests like the SAT are important because they show that grades alone are not the only things that matter. I look forward to seeing my true potential on the real test.”

Despite being an indicator of whether or not to take the SAT, the PSAT is also the only way to achieve National Merit. National Merit provides students with plenty of scholarship and extra-curricular opportunities. Each year, students are selected for the prestigious achievement based on their test scores.

“I took the PSAT because everyone else seemed to be taking it,” said Ankush Bajaj, junior. “I studied the old PSATs that my sister took before. I’m hoping to achieve National Merit to help with some of the summer programs I am applying to. I still feel unprepared for most of the other standardized tests I need to take later on, but I understand that they are necessary for college.”