Juniors tackle PSAT

East and West students gauge their readiness for the SAT during fall testing day


Photo by David Hartman from FreeImages

MCHS students take two standardized tests during their junior year—the Preliminary SAT in the fall and the official SAT in the spring.

Kyla Henige, News Editor

On October 16, East and West juniors took the Preliminary SAT exam in the libraries and main gym at the respective campuses.

The PSAT exam is given to juniors in the fall prior to taking the official SAT in the spring. Students can use their score on the PSAT to gauge their readiness and prepare for the higher-stakes test, which could impact college eligibility. Students had a total of two hours and 45 minutes to finish the 4-section test. 

West Principal Marsha Potthoff thinks that the PSATs are beneficial to students and provide insights into what the SATs are like. “For those students that do plan to go to college, they should prep for the PSAT and SAT just like any other test.  You cannot walk in and expect to do well when you have no idea what to expect,” says Potthoff. 

“I felt confident going into the PSAT because I prepared myself by using Khan Academy, a website that helped me practice SAT-like questions,” says Marissa Hanley. “I started using it at the beginning of junior year.  Although I was confident, I was still nervous because you never know what’s going to be on standardized tests.”

Although some students went into the PSATs very confident, others did not. Juniors such as Brayan Escamilla struggled a little going into the PSATs.

“For me personally, I wanted to take the PSAT to see how I’d do, and what I can learn, but I didn’t really study that much, because I’m kind of a procrastinator. But in all, it was a good experience,” says Brayan Escamilla-Reyes.

When the PSATs finished, most juniors scrambled to go home while freshmen and sophomores finished out their day as a half-day, getting out at 1:15 pm. Seniors did not have to attend school during this testing day.

Overall both juniors came out saying that they know what they need to study in order to succeed in the SAT, and how to better prepare themselves. Both in a way, felt accomplished.

As juniors continue studying for SATs, they also must balance their class load—which for some includes multiple AP and honors classes—in addition to athletics and extracurriculars. 

Though many students did not see the value of the PSAT, those who took advantage of it may feel better prepared for the SAT.