Sarah Jannings

LAKE MICHIGAN CATHOLIC- The PSAT (The Preliminary SAT) is a standardized test that most high schools in the United States administer to their eleventh grade students. Some high schools also offer the PSAT to their ninth and/or tenth grade students.  

Lake Michigan Catholic High School offers the PSAT to its ninth and tenth graders, who recently took it on April 10th.  

“The PSAT was difficult and stressful because we were timed, but I think I did pretty well, and even when I was confused I still tried my best to all of my abilities,” said freshman Andy Conklin.

The PSAT test gives students a sense of the format, question types, content, and time limits that they will encounter on the SAT.  Additionally, the PSAT test serves as a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

¨I think the PSAT test will help me prepare for the actual SAT test and timing wise it helped me to strategize the amount of time I spent on each question because you won’t always have all the time you want.  From the test results, I´ll know my strengths and weaknesses and I now know what to expect for next year,¨ said freshman Hattie Latham.

The PSAT has three sections: Math, evidence-based Reading, and Language Arts.  Students encounter passage-based questions—sometimes accompanied by tables, graphs, and charts—and math problems drawing upon algebra and geometry.  

¨It’s really good practice since it’s really similar to the SAT and other college admission tests, and it will help students get used to the long period of time given to them for college admission tests.  I´ll have to improve a lot in math and I´ll be taking ACT and SAT prep classes online, especially for math,¨ said sophomore John Mansfield.

Test anxiety and a fear of the unknown can have a negative impact on students taking the SAT for the first time. However, if they´ve already done well on the PSAT, they will be at a distinct advantage.

¨I would say I felt more confident this time because I’ve definitely grown and gained more knowledge.  I didn’t feel as nervous as I did last year,¨ said sophomore Claire Duris.

Just as rehearsing before a performance or practicing before a sports game gives someone the boost of confidence they need to succeed, posting a solid score on the PSAT will do the same for their SAT-taking experience.

¨I would say to future freshmen and sophomores to try their hardest in school and with their work and be confident in your own abilities.  The PSAT is just to help them figure out what to work on more so that they can get the score they want on the real tests, so don’t stress and try their best while taking it,¨ said Duris.

Additionally, the PSAT is a tool many colleges and universities use to identify students they think may make a good addition to their student body and who may be deserving of scholarships. Underestimating the significance of the PSAT is a common mistake, but is one that is easily corrected.  

The PSAT may seem stressful to some students, but in the end it will help them to succeed later throughout their high school and college years.