Juniors Coping with the PSAT

Students taking the SAT. Labeled for reuse by Flicker.

Students taking the SAT. Labeled for reuse by Flicker.

The PSAT has once again come to pass for Air Academy’s juniors.

The PSAT 11 is a very important series of tests that determine the attention a student may receive from esteemed universities all over the country. The Preliminary SAT (PSAT11) brings a sense of anxiety and uncertainty time and time again. However, the way anxiety affects students varies from person to person.

I am just choosing to study at my own pace when it comes to the PSAT and not letting the pressure get to me,” junior Ratna Unnikrishnan said.

The PSAT 11 is not just about preparation and having a sense of knowing what to expect. Sometimes students know what to expect, but are skittish about one particular aspect. However, junior Chewy Ortega is “a more go with the flow kind of person” and isn’t particularly skittish about a specific aspect. 

Following tests, especially ones as unforgiving and lengthy as the PSAT, students can have mixed and varied feelings about how they did on the test and what they thought of it. Anxiety can loom over testing days, especially with colleges watching how students do to deem them suitable for their curriculum.

“I feel rather nervous, tired, and accomplished about what I have done,” Link Norman said, elaborating about the post-test reaction.

The PSAT can be a very confusing, anxious, and stress-inducing time for AAHS juniors, and adds pressure to the already mammoth-sized workload that students have and the pressure COVID-19 has built on their shoulders. Finishing these tests is rewarding for students and can play a big role in their college opportunities.

Helpful tips about preparing for the PSAT include studying for one particular subject, getting plentiful sleep and help from parents/peers, eating well, and drinking a lot of water. Self-care is one of the only reasons students will genuinely struggle on tests like the SAT where there is no preparation, though it can be speculated through interviews that the biggest reason some great students struggle with the SAT and PSAT is due to overconfidence, so students have a right to be nervous.

All in all, juniors should be a bit concerned with the test’s result, but also enter the test with confidence and an optimistic attitude. The PSAT isn’t a test to be blown off or overthink. It directly impacts a student’s future but also doesn’t determine a student’s end success. Some students try too hard to study for this test and refuse to look for a mundane reason to complete it, such as for a student’s immediate fulfillment.

The upcoming classes of 2024 and 2025 should be aware of the PSAT11 and how it affects their collegiate appeal as well. They have the PSAT 10 and 9 respectively this year, and students should do their best on these as well to get a feeling for the PSAT 11 and the full-fledged SAT as well. Colleges pay attention, but don’t have as strict guidelines for admission as one might think. The most important facet to think about for these students is to try their best, as their best is always acceptable.