Recently, many of our sophomores and juniors filed in classrooms a little more nervous than usual. They carried calculators and No. 2 pencils. Inside the door, they traded their backpacks and electronic devices for an answer sheet and test booklet, and they began to fill in the bubbles. Three hours later, they had finished the PSATs.
"I hate being timed on tests," junior Diana Quezada-Corona explained. "It makes me nervous, so I wanted to practice before taking the real test."
Quezada-Corona plans to take the SATs in December. Junior Annalyssa Roush said she was glad she took the PSATs.
"The questions on the exam were harder than the ones in the practice booklet," Roush said.
"I took them last year, so I kind of knew what to expect," Jake Roan said.
Each fall, high school students across the country are identified as Commended Students or Semifinalists based on their overall score on the PSAT exam.
Recently, seniors Madison Confair, Genevieve Beatty, Sabrina Emms and Taelyr Hill were all recognized for their outstanding achievement on last year's PSAT exam.
Hill said she was "really surprised" when she learned of her accomplishment. Emms, like many of the juniors this year, took the PSAT during her sophomore and junior year.
"My scores did go up a little from the first test to the second," Emms said.
All students earning Semifinalist status have the opportunity to compete for scholarships by meeting outlined requirements including high academic achievement.
Students will be notified in February if they have advanced to Finalist standing. Then they can choose to complete more requirements such as writing an essay and submitting recommendations in order to compete for a National Merit Scholarship of $2,500 and other corporate or university sponsored scholarships.