Published Sept. 8, 2022
BY SARA EYJOLFSDOTTIR
After being halted for two years due to COVID-19 concerns and many colleges making standardized tests optional for their applications, Carmel High School is once again offering the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, or PSAT, although this time it’s only for juniors.
The test, taken by over 3.5 million students yearly, is commonly used by high schoolers around the nation to practice taking a test similar to the SAT and to receive an indication of future scores.
“The PSAT gives you an opportunity to understand the standardized test experience,” notes The Princeton Review. “Scores will not be sent to colleges and do not impact your high school grades.”
With CHS’ decision last year to not offer the PSAT again, many students were unable to take the exam or had to travel to other testing areas.
“I wish I had the option to take the PSAT, since I think it would have saved me at least one attempt on the actual SAT,” senior Riley Speidel says. “The PSAT would have helped me have a better idea on what I needed to prepare without added pressure and uncertainty.”
However, the PSAT will not be returning to CHS exactly as it was two years ago.
“We are following the recommendation of the College Board to limit this to junior students,” CHS principal Jon Lyons said in a recent email to parents and students.
For test-takers in their junior year, the PSAT is also a qualifier for the National Merit Scholarship, a prestigious academic merit scholarship that recognizes around 50,000 participants yearly. Taking the test as a sophomore is additional preparation for those aiming for the scholarship as juniors and allows more time for improvement before taking the SAT or ACT. This is no longer an option for sophomores looking to take the exam at CHS.
“I would like to have an option as to whether I can take it for extra preparation and security before the SAT,” sophomore Jadyn Lome says, “but I understand most people won’t take it sophomore year and that could be a turn-off to offering it.”
The test, which will be administered this year on Oct. 25, had previously been taken by roughly 320 CHS students annually, mostly by juniors, with only a limited number of seats offered to sophomores.
“I’m taking the PSAT again because I want the credit for taking it and to feel more prepared,” explains junior Calla Lyons, who is now taking the test for the second time. “I took it last year, but since I was in tenth grade it didn’t really count, and I couldn’t qualify for the scholarship.”
In addition to the PSAT, CHS is considering offering other standardized tests for juniors later in the 2022-23 year.
“CHS is also exploring the possibility of offering the SAT or the ACT during a school day later in the spring to interested 11th grade students,” Lyons adds.
Payment for the exam, $18, is due by Sept. 12 at 3 p.m.