On Wednesday October 12th, 79 students from the sophomore
and junior classes, along with 7 homeschool students, took the 2 hour
Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.  So why would 86 students take 2 hours out of
their day to take a test???

What is the PSAT?

The PSAT is a preliminary SAT test as well as a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship.  It is given to all 10th graders here at Faith Christian School, and 11th grade students who elect to take the exam.  The PSAT is a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT.  Created to test students on the knowledge they have gained over the years, the PSAT  measures critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills; it’s not meant for students to recall specific facts from classes or to be exhaustively studied for.

Why take the PSAT as a 10th grader?

The state of Indiana has decided it is so beneficial for sophomores to take the PSAT that they actually pay for each sophomore to take the test!  Why is the state of Indiana willing to pay for all these tests? They believe that several benefits are a result of students taking the PSAT as sophomores.  One of those benefits is that students and
parents receive an earlier and better gauge of their post-secondary
preparation.  The PSAT gives students a good guide of what they need to work on in preparation for the SAT they will take their junior and senior year, which will be used for entrance into colleges.  Another benefit is that students are able to adjust their 11th and 12th grade schedules to be best prepared for their future plans.  It also gives the
school an opportunity to use the Summary of Answers and Skills tool to help inform instructional practices based on student skills.  Finally, students are signed up for College Board, a college search opportunity that can help students begin planning their future.

Why take the PSAT as an 11th grader?

Students are encouraged to take the PSAT as juniors for multiple reasons.  Students who take the PSAT in their junior year are automatically enrolled in the National Merit Scholarship, a scholarship opportunity available to students around the country.  Students are also able to qualify for other scholarship and recognition competitions based off their PSAT scores.  Another reason an eleventh grader might take the PSAT is to prepare for the SAT later in the year.  The PSAT is given annually in the fall, and
results are given back to students usually by December.  This permits students to take the test and analyze where they struggled, and hopefully bulk up their aptitude in that area before taking the SAT, which will be used for college applications.  It is noted that on average students who take the PSAT in their junior year score higher on the SAT later that same year.  The PSAT is administered by the College Board, who also administers the SAT.  One of the services that they offer when students take the PSAT as juniors is access to My College QuickStart, which is an online college and career planning tool.  This is a good resource for students to have when planning their future once they leave high school.  The last benefit to taking the PSAT as a
junior is the opportunity it gives to access free information from
colleges.  Students have the opportunity to sign up to receive materials from schools that fit the criteria of interested majors, religion and opportunities when they take the PSAT.  This is a great opportunity to find out about different schools that might not have ever been on the radar but are a good fit for the student.

Elizabeth Wickert