PSAT Testing Provides Opportunities For Students

Nicholas Rhodes, Staff Writer

Central York High School juniors took the Preliminary SAT Oct 12. 2022. The day before, juniors returned to CLC to fill out the demographic information in preparation for the practice exam. Testing began 8:00 a.m. and ended at 11:05 a.m in designated locations. 

                  Guidance Counselor Tristan Zelinka acts as testing coordinator and recommends that “students take the PSAT in 11th grade, get those scores back in December and then register for the SAT in March, May or June.”

      The Preliminary SAT takes two hours and 45 minutes and consists of three tests within the test, reading, writing and language and the math test. Most questions are multiple choice, though some math questions ask them to write in the answer rather than select it.

     “The PSAT offers students insight into their readiness for post-secondary options that could include attending a college or university. This test makes a projection for students so they can more easily see how they would do on the SAT exam later down the road,” said Zelinka. 

      By taking the PSAT as a junior, students may meet the requirements to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program, an academic competition for recognition and scholarships. Furthermore, the SAT, PSAT, and PSAT 10 connects students to another $300 million in college scholarships for students across major demographics. 

     “This recognition is free money for college. For some, even a slight increase in scores could mean the difference between merit-based scholarships in college.” said Zelinka.  

       The PSAT and SAT, the official test, are almost identical. The practice exam takes 15 minutes less time to complete, has no essay and is scored differently. Otherwise, Both tests have the same question types and test the same knowledge areas. By taking the PSAT, you are prepping for the real one.  

   “I was a lot more prepared for the SAT because the PSAT questions are pretty similar to the actual SAT. The testing environment was also about the same.” says senior Owen Lang. 

   Students benefit by having experienced the test procedure one time before taking qualifying tests. Knowing the process and timing can ease anxieties and calm nerves. 

  “I think the PSAT sets you up for the SAT in terms of getting you ready for the test, but to mentally prepare for it is up to each student, as there is usually a long gap between the two tests,” said Lang. 

   Teachers advise all students take the PSAT even if it is just a practice as it really does help down the line. Those who at least tried on the PSAT have a better chance of succeeding on the SAT. Zelinka also recommends Khan Academy as it is good practice and good experience prior to the SAT. 

  “It helps down the line to get set up mentally and prepare you for the SAT, so when the day comes to take it you have the mindset and the readiness to take the SAT,” said Zelinka. 

Students are getting prepared and ready to take the Preliminary SAT to prepare for the real test that takes place in the spring. (Photo by Nicholas Rhodes.)