Juniors and sophomores take PSATs


Gloria Zhang

Testing locations were posted on campus monitors. The juniors took the PSAT in the auxiliary gym, while the sophomores tested in their advisors’ classrooms.

by Gloria Zhang, Aquila Asst. Features Editor

Juniors and sophomores took the PSAT exam today from 8 to 11 a.m.

Students were required to arrive on campus by 7:30 a.m. Late arrivals were not permitted to take the exam, according to College Board regulations.

Testing locations were posted around the campus. The juniors completed the exam in the auxiliary gym, while the sophomores stayed in their advisors’ classrooms for testing. After the exam, students were free to leave campus for the rest of the day. The kitchen staff provided lunch for those who stayed at school.

Director of standardized testing and scheduling Derek Kameda sent out an email to juniors and sophomores with information about the exam on Sep. 25. For the exam, students were advised to bring #2 pencils and approved calculators. A list of approved calculators, which included scientific, graphing and four-functions devices, were included in the PSAT Student Guide that teachers handed to students in class.

Students prepared for the PSAT using the Student Guide and the included practice test. Some English teachers spent time in class to practice for the exam.

“I did the practice test that they handed [in class]. I also used the SAT practice app, which gives you past SAT questions.” Emma Li (10) said. “SAT [has] new questions every year, so the old questions are free for everyone to use. I used all the questions I got wrong and analyzed which parts I need to focus on.”

For sophomores, the PSAT is a way to practice for future SAT exams or other standardized tests. For the juniors, their scores are sent to and considered for awards from the National Merit Scholarship Program. PSAT scores are not sent to colleges.

“I thought of last year as more of a diagnostic test, so I can gauge how much I needed to improve for this year,” Shreya Dasari (11) said.

Sophomore advisor Lauri Vaughan believes that the skills necessary for doing well on the SATs and PSATs are developed throughout the years and are not limited to the exams.

“I think that the [juniors] who are going to become National Merit Scholars based on their PSAT scores probably would become National Merit Scholars because of the foundation of knowledge built up over the years,” she said. “I don’t think you can study over the weekend to become [a] National Merit Scholarship winner.”

Seniors were excused from school and stayed at home to study and work on college applications, while the freshmen went on a class community service trip to the Coyote Wildlife Reserve.