On Wednesday, October 16, sophomores and juniors at Mount Vernon will take the PSAT.
The PSAT is a standardized test much like the SAT or ITBS, used to measure academic skills, prepare students for the SAT and ACT, and qualify juniors with outstanding scores for scholarships. It is administered like many other standardized tests, including the SSAT and the SAT. Number 2 pencils will be provided, but students should remember to bring a calculator for use in the math portion. Students should report to first period at 7:50 for announcements, to their testing room at 8:00, and to lunch at 12:00. After lunch, students will follow their usual Wednesday schedule. Students will take the PSAT in various classrooms. Students should have recently received an email from Mrs. Breite with their room assignments.
Rather than memorization of specific facts, the PSAT tests skills in three areas: math, writing, and reading. The test’s math section will cover numbers and operations, data analysis, algebra, and geometry. Unlike the SAT and ACT, the PSAT does not include an essay. There is, however, a writing skills section, with multiple choice questions on improving sentences, improving paragraphs, and identifying errors in sentences. Critical reading questions on the test will include sentence completions and questions based on passages.
Though the PSAT may seem at first to be dull and unimportant, it has immense value for sophomores and juniors taking it. The PSAT mimics the format of the SAT and ACT tests students will take later in junior and senior years, so students can get a sense of what these tests are like before actually taking them. In addition, upon receiving their scores in December, students can gauge which areas they are strongest in and which they need to work on, helping to guide their SAT and ACT preparation. High PSAT scores can qualify juniors for scholarships: the 8,000 juniors across the country who take the PSAT with the highest scores on the test will receive National Merit Scholarships.
The PSAT is a great asset and opportunity for the Mount Vernon students who will take it this Wednesday. Remember to get a good night’s sleep the night before, eat a good breakfast the morning of the test, know which room you will take the test in, and bring a calculator. Contact Mrs. Powell, Ms. Ramsey, or Mrs. Briete with any questions.