Kerry JamesThe anxious tick of the clock added to the stress of the time, that was no doubt going faster than thought. So many questions, they eventually all seemed to blur together.

“Five minutes remaining” the teacher called out, which really didn’t help all the on edge nerves.

All those lessons taken prior to this, all of that studying and time poured into coming out with a score worthy of flaunting…this test was definitely something to be conquered, rather than defeated. With that last filling in of the bubble, certainty, despite some odds, that this PSAT was nothing more than another, just a regular test settled in with the most fulfilling satisfaction.

The PSAT taken last year proved to provide astounding results for the school. Several seniors got commended on their SAT, and Seniors Evan Gabrielsen and Aidan Edwards even received nominations for the National Merit Scholar. This is a major accomplishment in that students who are only in the top 1% of high scores from the PSAT are considered as nominees.

“Going from semi-finalist to finalist…most people who are nominated get it,” Edwards said. “If you do all the online stuff, there’s an essay you have to write, there’s some information you have to give, and take the SAT that confirms your PSAT score…it has to be close enough so it doesn’t look like you were cheating.”

But this wasn’t achieved, without some effort. Both put a considerable amount of work in, from taking online classes to taking classes on campus that would help them score significantly higher than the average student.

“I studied two hours, every day, all summer,” Edwards said. “[And] got a 220 which is the highest it’s ever been to get for the National Merit semi-finalist cut off.”

Edwards, along with Gabrielsen, accredited their success to their teachers. They were the ones who taught them what they needed to know and gave them the necessary tools to study and prepare properly for the PSAT.

“What really helped was…Coach Jackson and Mr. Holloway,” Edwards said. “Most of the stuff I used on the PSAT came from sophomore year…they taught us what we were going to need on it.”

However, there were some odds against them when trying to perform their best on the PSAT and get that prime score.

“I got a concussion two days before,” Gabrielsen said. “So I was taking the test and was sort of out of it.”

This led to some of his doubt regarding how high his score was going to be and he was surprised and happy to see that he had received something like the National Merit Scholar nomination.

The PSAT is intended to help prepare students, most commonly Juniors, for the SAT which they will take in their Senior year. However, it’s also a tool that aids in getting students recognized by colleges, even the ones that they might have their hearts set on. Hitting the average score is an accomplishment in itself, as for the few that are able to go above and beyond, the school has said that they are proud of them and thankful for the staff which has put in all the effort that helps students reach those excellent scores.


Kerry James

Staff Writer