The PSAT/NMSQT, a yearly test offered to sophomores and juniors in high school, is scheduled for during school on Wednesday, October 14.
PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preparatory Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Students take this test to prepare for the SAT Test during their junior year. The National Merit Scholarship is awarded to high-achieving juniors based on test scores and other qualifications.
Usually, this test is offered on a Saturday in the fall at the school, but this year there have been some changes. The content and format of the SAT is being changed for the 2016-2017 test, so the PSAT was also changed this year in preparation for the new SAT next year. Because of this, “the college board has mandated that all schools in the United States test during the school year for this year only. Next year the PSAT… will go back to being administered on a Saturday,” said Miss Rickley, English teacher, who is one of the two coordinators of the test at AHS. Mrs. Chachus is the other coordinator at the school, and Ms. de Kelley in the guidance office oversees all college board testing at AHS.
According to the college board website section about college readiness, there are benefits to having the test during school. Some of the reasons why include that people may not have to miss out on extracurriculars, sports, work, etc., which often conflict on Saturdays. Transportation is also not an issue if the test is offered during the school day. The in-school test avoids conflict with religious holidays and complements school calendars. “Over the past four years, there’s been an increase in the number of schools requesting to administer the PSAT/NMSQT on a second Wednesday because of scheduling conflicts,” the test’s website states.
There are multiple timed sections of the PSAT. There are three main parts: a reading test, a writing and language test, and a math test.
The reading portion has multiple choice questions based on passages. The writing and language test includes finding and fixing grammar mistakes. Again, all questions are multiple choice.
The Math Test includes two separate portions–one where calculators are permitted and one where calculators are not permitted. Scientific and graphing calculators are allowed. Most questions are multiple choice, with some being grid-in, which are similar to short answer, but allow your answer to be recorded in a numbered grid.
There are many resources online to help students prepare for the PSAT/NMSQT and be successful, including the college board website and Khan Academy. If you have any questions, feel free to talk to Miss Rickley, Mrs. Chachus, or Ms. de Kelley.
By Alexandra Scott