Pritzker College Prep students take PSAT

Rodrigo Rios studies for the PSAT. Photo credit: Mauricio Rodriguez

By Mauricio Rodriguez ’19 and Ruben Soberanis ’19

In the month of October, students from 9th-11th grade will be taking the PSAT for the first time. The PSAT is a standardized test that will determine what colleges will students be eligible for, which is similar to the ACT.

Since the PSAT is new to Pritzker, some students had different views on it. Freshman, Michael Medrano stated that, “I personally feel like it’s another test.” Medrano as well mentioned that the PSAT is “more stress” to him along with the ACT.  Medrano’s views on the test is different from that of a student who has already been at Pritzker for a year.  

Sophomore student, Rodrigo Rios, mentioned, “From what I found [out]  in big group, it sounds a bit better.” Rios  feels more relieved that there is an “optional writing test”,  so he does not feel pressured into doing something new.

Other than how the students feel about the PSAT,  students  have a variety of ways they will prepare for the test. Medrano stated that he will prepare for the test by reviewing current and past notes on his school subjects. Since he does not know what will be exactly on the test, he hopes for the best that he does well on the test.

Rios, similarly, stated that he will look over his freshman year notes. Rios also mentioned that he will “pay attention in chemistry a lot more and start asking questions in geometry and literature” to prepare. In other words, Rios will be more active in class to gain more information before testing day.

As the students prepare for the test, they come up with strategies to use. Medrano  mentioned that his strategy is to “manage time”, so that he would not spend as much time on one question and would  have enough time for the rest. He also said that he will try his best to fully answer all the questions and, if he has enough time, he will go back and recheck his answers. On the other hand, Rios stated that he does not have a strategy to use during the test. His only plan is to study before the test.

Students, before taking the PSAT, have goals that they would like to achieve after testing is done. Medrano said, “My goal is to be in average[with my SAT scores].” Therefore, he mentioned how he would like to get a score that is not too low.

Since the PSAT is stressful to students, they have their own ways to feel encouraged. Rios said, “The high score is what will motivate me the most.” Thus, having the mindset of getting a high score is what encourages Rios into giving the test his all. On the other hand, Medrano feels that he is best motivated if he is encouraged by teachers. He feels  encouraged  when he is told the “great benefits” of the test.

The PSAT is scaled differently from the ACT. The ACT is scaled out of a score of 36 while the PSAT is scaled out of 1600. It’s also different in content. The ACT contains four sections: writing, math, reading, and science. The PSAT doesn’t include a science section. In fact, content from the science section is spread out throughout the reading section of the test. Different from the ACT, the PSAT contains a math section that doesn’t require a calculator. This is a new testing experience for the Pritzker students.

The PSAT is the practice version of the SAT.  The SAT is only taken by juniors.