PSAT Offered to All Grades on One Day
The PSAT, or Preliminary SAT, was offered to all grade levels to take on Saturday, October 14, at Milpitas High School, according to PSAT Coordinator Cory Nakamoto. 595 students signed up for the test through tiered registration, in which juniors were given top priority, he said.
This was not the case last year, Nakamoto said. Because the school had funding, juniors took the PSAT on one day and sophomores took the test on a separate date, he said.
“This year [the school was] told that we were not going to be funded that way and that we were going to be offering [the PSAT] just the one time. We originally were going to just offer it to just juniors,” Nakamoto said. “When we found out that we were only going to to be able to test one day this year, we purchased 300 additional tests to offer it to tenth and ninth graders as well.”
The PSAT is a measurement for how well students will do on the actual SAT test, Nakamoto said. When students take the test, they receive scores on certain subjects such as Critical Reading and Math, he added.
“[The PSAT] gives [students] feedback on areas of strength and areas of weakness so that they have time before they take their SAT to work on that, whether it’s taking an online class or whether it’s taking a course outside that they have to pay money for,” Nakamoto said. “It just gives them a little bit of an idea of areas that they need to work on for the actual SAT.”
It is a good idea to offer the PSAT to freshmen and sophomores, Freshman Diya Soneji said. Taking the PSAT is good practice to prepare yourself for the SAT, she added.
“I chose to take [the PSAT] as a freshman because I think that knowing something about the SAT is important,” Soneji said. “The next time I actually try to do the PSAT when I’m a sophomore and I know the concept, I can get better and better as time goes by.”
Other students, such as Sophomore Aditi Bhagwat, took the PSAT to see what level they were at. The PSAT is also a good way to find out what areas need to be more focused on to do well on the junior year PSAT, Bhagwat said.
“I did [the PSAT] mostly because I wanted to practice on it. I just wanted to know what [the PSAT] was like,” Bhagwat said. “Now that I know the format and how, especially for the English part, how questions are stated, I can prepare in a correct way for the PSAT.”
As the coordinator for the PSAT, Nakamoto organizes sign-ups for students who are interested in taking the PSAT and gets the facilities and the teachers or proctors that will be administering the PSAT, Nakamoto said. There are benefits to taking the PSAT, he said.
“The main thing for everyone is to get a gauge on where your strengths and weaknesses are on standardized testing. To get into college, a huge piece of it is your GPA, but probably the next biggest factor is your SAT or your ACT scores,” Nakamoto said.
It is beneficial that the PSAT is offered not only to juniors, Nakamoto said. Sophomore year is a good year to consider taking the PSAT, he added.
“I think the earlier we get some feedback on these standardized tests, [since they] are so important for college, the more time people have to prepare, whether that’s on their own or with a study guide or whether that’s taking an online course through Khan Academy,” Nakamoto said.
A benefit to taking the PSAT is the National Merit Scholarship, Nakamoto said. All students can take the PSAT, but only juniors can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship, he said.
“The junior year is a big year because you can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship and that is where students in their senior year, depending on how well they score, can get scholarships for college,” Nakamoto said. “Typically students who get semifinalist or finalist standing usually score in the top 1 to 2 percent across the nation.”
According to Junior Ryanna Lui, she took the PSAT to try to get the National Merit Scholarship. It doesn’t hurt to give the PSAT a shot, and there is nothing to lose, she added.
“I know that if you [are a National Merit Scholarship] finalist, I think [you receive] $2500,” Lui said. “You can use that money for the college that you want.”