Students from grades 9-11 trekked to their assigned rooms to take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualification Test (PSAT/NMSQT) the morning of Wed., Oct. 11.
Freshman students took the exam in the upstairs 9000 building, while sophomores took over downstairs. On the other side of campus, juniors split up between the 2000 and upstairs 3000 buildings to take the national exam. Students in the Ray Dass National Merit Preparatory program, who were in the upstairs 3000 classrooms, have been preparing for this exam since last March.
“I am so proud of these students and all of the progress they made,” Ray Dass said. “It’s always inspiring to see how students in the program balance school, extra-curricular activities and all of their other commitments while going after such incredibly scores.”
For juniors, the PSAT/NMSQT is not only an indicator of their future SAT score, a crucial part of college acceptances, but an opportunity to earn the title of “National Merit Scholar,” a title that can yield scholarships from colleges across the country.
“As proud as I am of their score improvements, I’m most proud of how so many of these have grown in their self-confidence and belief in themselves,” Dass said.
Many juniors were relieved to complete the exam, turning their attention to their future SAT and ACT tests.
“[The Ray Dass Merit Prep Program] really showed me that the PSAT isn’t just some test, because freshman and sophomore year I was really uninformed and didn’t take it seriously,” junior Chelsea Egbarin said. “Then I got to the merit program and could appreciate the significance of the test, and it really gave me incentives to try my best and do well.”
Junior Jonah Warhaft did not complete the Ray Dass Prep Program, but still sees the PSAT as a good indicator for his future SAT scores.
“The PSAT is great because it provides us with an extra practice test for the SAT,” Warhaft said. “However, I do think that the PSAT practice course that the school offers to students who scored above a certain score is unfair to those who want to be in the class but didn’t score high enough. Had I had the equal opportunity to prepare the way the merit kids did, I would have felt much more prepared and confident on this test.”
While underclassmen are not eligible for National Merit, taking the PSAT/NMSQT early exposes them to the types of questions they will see in future years. For sophomores, this PSAT determines their eligibility for the Ray Dass Prep program during their junior year.
“The PSAT was a unique experience that helped me realize my strengths, weaknesses and areas of interest for taking the SAT, ACT and applying for universities in a few years,” sophomore Alexander Divoux said.
The College Board will release PSAT/NMSQT scores in mid-December.