Preparing for the Upcoming PSAT

October 9, 2018

The PSAT, also referred to as The Preliminary SAT or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT), will be administered at Decatur High School on Wednesday, Oct. 10.  Sophomores and juniors will partake in the two hour and forty-five minute long test starting immediately after school begins.

The test is split into three groups: a 60 minute reading portion, a 35 minute writing and language portion and a 70 minute math portion, according to the Princeton Review.

Most believe in the idea of “practice makes perfect.” Similarly to riding a bike, mastering a skateboarding trick or playing the piano, practicing could lead to improved SSAT scores. However, others are questioning if the PSAT really makes a difference in the long run.

“I took it last year and I don’t think it was that helpful, so I’m not studying this year,” one Junior, Will Sibelik said.

In a survey of 25 DHS sophomores, 60% said they’d already started to or planned on studying for the PSAT; on the other hand, 60% of juniors surveyed stated they did not plan on studying for the test.

“I think [the PSAT] is important, so we can get practice before the SAT. And I think it’s a great idea, because it helps us get scholarships,” Sophomore Hanh Cao said.

The Georgia Department of Education reports that students who take the PSAT as a sophomore and as a junior score 150 points higher than those who don’t. Still, the general mindset of the PSAT not being worth preparing for is definitely more prevalent among juniors, who have already taken the test once.

This mindset isn’t shared by the entire Class of 2020,  for many due to a possibility of earning merit scholarship money.

The National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test allows for 2020 graduates who plan on immediately attending college to possibly receive a National Merit Scholarship or a Special Scholarship. The former would be provided by the NMSQT program, colleges, or corporations, while the latter would be given by specific sponsors.

DHS senior Ezra Ahmad ultimately does not feel like the taking the test mattered for her in the long run.

“For some it offers insight into how the test works,” Ahmad said. “But you can find practice tests online, too.”

Ahmad doesn’t plan on taking the PSAT again unless she is interested in trying to get the National Merit Scholarship.

Despite whether or not sophomores or juniors see a benefit in taking the PSAT, each student will be required to report to the testing area tomorrow morning.


Infographic information courtesy of The College Board.

Infographic layout courtesy of Piktochart.

Photos courtesy of Kai Watts.

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