By: Fiza Khan

          On October 30, juniors at Ayala will be taking the PSAT or Preliminary SAT. This test is extremely important for juniors as it is not only the best preparation for the SAT, but it is also used to determine who qualifies for the National Merit Scholarship. Preparing and striving to do well on this exam is vital as out of the 3.4 million high school students who take this nationwide, multiple-choice test every year, 15,000 are chosen as National Merit Scholars and are awarded scholarships.

          The test will cost $25 to take and will be available for purchase at the student store before school, during lunch, or after school. The deadline to purchase the PSAT will be Friday, October 25. The test will begin at 8 a.m. sharp, and all students taking it are urged to arrive at 7:15 a.m. It will take place at MPR, and all juniors must bring a picture ID, pencils, and, either a four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator. Students are not allowed to bring alarm watches, phones, or any helpful supplemental materials.

          The test is expected to be completed approximately 10:30 a.m. - 11 a.m. All juniors are urged to bring water and snacks to consume during break as well. Results are expected to be delivered to students in December.

Here are some quick tips for conquering the PSAT!

1) Know the format for the PSAT

It is obvious that one must be comfortable and used to the format in order to excel on the test. The reading section is 50 minutes long with 48 questions and is full of reading comprehension questions after reading passages. The writing section is 30 minutes long with 39 questions, which include grammar and word choice multiple choice questions. The math section is 50 minutes long and has 38 questions, focusing on algebra and functions, geometry and measurement, and statistics and data analysis.

2) Focus on the main ideas

When it comes to the reading section, students often get overwhelmed by focusing on details and insignificant parts. One should focus on the “big picture” and try to capture the main theme or idea.

3) Process of Elimination or Substitution

Using the process of elimination, especially in math, allows one to boost their chances of picking the correct answer significantly. One can eliminate the outlier or answers that do not fit the context of the problem. Substituting in numbers for math also allows one to pick the correct answer if given variables. One should always start with the middle number, as it often is the right one.

Let’s hope to see a lot of 1520’s at Ayala this winter! Good luck juniors!