This Wednesday, October 15th, East sophomores and juniors will have the opportunity to take the PSAT (Preliminary SATs) during school. This test gives sophomores a better understanding of what to expect on the SAT, and it gives juniors an extra practice session. The PSAT is almost identical to the SAT, except for the fact that there is no essay on the PSAT.
“The PSAT gave me an idea of what the SAT (would be) like, so when I took the SATs I was prepared,” said Scott Gross (’09).
In addition, juniors have the opportunity to qualify as National Merit Scholar Semifinalists, those who achieve top scores in the state. National Merit Semifinalists represent less than 1% of the estimated 1.4 million juniors who take the PSAT. Three students from Cherry Hill were announced as National Merit Scholar Semifinalists in 2007. East students Joe Pottackal (’09) and Marie Smithgall (’09) now have the opportunity to compete for scholarships on the national level.
Approximately two months after taking the PSATs, students receive their scores, which is significant because PSAT scoring is comparable to SAT scoring. It gives students an idea of what they need to specifically work on to improve their SAT test- taking ability. In addition to their score, students also receive their average percentile, which shows the percentage of students whom they scored higher than.
Without a doubt, the PSATs are a valuable experience for students at East. It helps students understand their abilities in English and math, which helps them distinguish specific topics they need to study more. Students are exposed to the format of the SAT, which prepares them mentally and familiarizes them with the complexity of the SAT.