On Wednesday, October 13, Columbus High juniors, sophomore, and freshmen will be taking the Preliminary SAT—referred to by most as the PSAT.
While most colleges do not look at these scores when deciding who to accept into their school, the test still has a host of benefits.
The PSAT is meant to "determine if students are on track for college success, and open doors for opportunities to prepare and pay for college," according to College Board, the organization that administers the PSAT.
"[The PSAT] is the best and cheapest practice for the SAT," remarks SAT Prep teacher Coach Parker. "As competitive as it is now to get into many colleges and earn scholarship money, it is impossible to over-prepare for the SAT."
For students who are taking the test for the first time, Parker says that the PSAT "will give them a basis for what areas they need to improve in over the next couple of years."
In addition to these benefits, doing well on the PSAT may also grant student eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship Program, which allows students to earn college scholarships and nationwide recognition.
Also, student performance on the PSAT determines a value known as AP Potential. This value ranges from 1-3, and although not exhaustive, AP Potential is used to determine how well-suited a student is for a particular AP course.
To do well on the test, College Board advises students to simply do well in school.
"Take challenging courses, do your homework, prepare for tests and quizzes, ask and answer lots of questions," the official website lists.
Coach Parker also has his own suggestions for test-takers.
"Make sure that you eat a good breakfast and to bring your own calculator." He advises. "Don’t spend too much time on any one question. Write in your test booklet—it’s your scratch paper. Don’t leave any questions unanswered."
The test is highly recommended to take, but not mandatory. Students who aren't taking the test should not attend school on Wednesday.
For those who are, there are activities planned for them after the test. For underclassmen, they will go to the auditorium to listen to a "panel of former Columbus High students," reports freshman counselor Ms. White. For upperclassmen, they will learn about "personal finances."