The Purpose of the PSAT

Remmington Moeller, Staff Reporter

Read passages. Solve for x. Fill in bubbles. Stress about test scores. When most students think of the PSAT, these are the thoughts that come to mind.

Both the PSAT and SAT are built up to be crucial strandarized tests that play a key role in determining a student’s future, but for a test that comes with so much stress, many students find themselves wondering what there is to gain from the exam in the first place.

“The biggest benefit of the PSAT is good practice for the SAT. It gives you a chance to see what the SAT is like,” said Gerber. “For a lot of you [students], this is the first time you’ve ever taken a test like this. It’s always good to get that exposure.”

Because the PSAT and SAT are nearly identical, the practice exam provides students with a good indication of what they would have scored on the SAT without any preparation beforehand.

According to Forbes, “Having baseline scores well in advance can help students and parents get a sense of the level of preparation needed for students to achieve the scores that will make them competitive candidates at the schools they want to attend.”

In other words, taking the PSAT illustrates to students how much they need to prepare for the test that really does matter–the SAT. In fact, the College Board found that students who take the PSAT score an average of 145 points higher on the SAT than those who don’t.

In addition to good practice for the SAT, the PSAT also offers excelling juniors scholarship opportunities, such as the National Merit Scholarship, where nationwide, students’ test scores are reviewed and narrowed down to the top 50,000 students. From there, they narrow it down more and more until the best scoring students are awarded the scholarships.

Due to the possible scholarship opportunities and good practice it provides for the SAT, Gerber encourages students to take the test seriously.

“Do your best, check over your answers, make sure you know what the questions are asking, and take your best guess if you have to,” Gerber said.

While the test can be overwhelming, it is possible to prepare for the PSAT. Both the practice packet provided in homeroom and are excellent study materials to gives students a feel for what the test might be like.

“It’s best not to go into the PSAT, SAT, or ACT cold. Do something to prepare,” said Gerber.

Test scores will be released to students online sometime in December; however, counselors will be handing out paper copies of the test scores in early January.

Gerber encourages students to focus less on their test scores and more on the learning opportunity the exam provides.

“You want to look at your score as what did I do well on, what could I improve upon, and what are some things I could work on to improve my score when I take the SAT?” said Gerber. “That’s what you need to focus on. Not the exact score you get, but what you can learn from those scores.”