Juniors take the PSAT

Courtesy of College Board

Courtesy of College Board

Shelby Summerhays, Style and Trends Editor

On October, 13 at 8:30 AM Juniors, here at Alta Loma High School, took the PSAT in the gymnasium. The PSAT is a Preliminary SAT. It is a test designed by the College Board to prepare students for the SAT, gain an understanding of what areas they are proficient in and what areas they need to improve, and also measures a student’s readiness for college. Taking the test provides one with many benefits such as earning scholarships.

The PSAT assesses students on two subjects; reading and mathematics. To test one’s reading abilities there is a Reading Test which consists of multiple choice questions based on passages. There may also be informational graphics, like tables, graphs, and charts embedded in the passages. These questions require students to identify evidence in a passage that best supports the answer they chose for a previous question, or supports a claim being made. Other questions require students to find the relationship between a graphic and an article. Additionally, to measure one’s reading comprehension there is a Writing and Language test that requires the student to edit or improve passages that were written.

“I decided to take the PSAT to prepare myself for college,” stated Sofia Vittora, Junior.

For the mathematics portion, there are also two sections. One part is a math test with a calculator, and the other part is a math test with no calculator. Mainly, the math section focuses on topics such as algebra, problem solving, data analysis, and advanced math. This tests a student’s ability to perform mathematical procedures efficiently and precisely, and solve problems by determining the solution.

“I wanted to take this test to learn what areas I need to improve in,” stated Eric Ngyugen, Junior.

There are no consequences for marking the wrong answers, therefore the test is scored based on how many right answers the person achieved. The scores for each individual section are graded on a scale of 160 to 760. These score ranges, along with mean scores, benchmarks, and percentiles can be used to determine if a student is prepared for college. The scores from each section are added together to find the overall total score.

To prepare for the PSAT, students had the option of taking a practice test or review sample questions courtesy of the College Board. Another choice was to practice skills and assess their knowledge with Khan Academy.