By Sabrina Conza, Editor in Chief
Seniors Brianna Donnelly and Nassim Davila have been named commended students by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, based on their performance on last year’s Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT).
“I’m really proud that I was able to do well enough to be a commended student,” Donnelly said. “While I may not be a National Merit Semifinalist, I did my best and I’m glad I got something to show for it.”
Davila seems to be just as honored as Donnelly.
“It is an honor. Literally,” Davila said.
The PSAT, given this year on Oct. 19, partners with the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) to reward students who earn high scores on the test with scholarships and recognition.
The results were released by the NMSC this September. The 50,000 test takers with the highest scores were all recognized for this achievement on some level.
Approximately two-thirds of the 50,000 test takers received letters of commendation, recognizing their “outstanding academic promise,” according to NMSC. The remaining one-third are deemed semifinalists, and can qualify for the role of finalist if they have high academic standing and high SAT scores. About 15,000 test takers are awarded the title of National Merit Semifinalist and presented certificates.
Of the 15,000 finalists, scholarship winners are chosen, and approximately 7,500 Finalists receive a Merit Scholarship award. There are three types of awards: a $2,500 scholarship, a corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship award and a college-sponsored Merit Scholarship award.
For the 2017 National Merit Scholarship, which is awarded to students in the Class of 2017, students took the PSAT/NMSQT in 2015.
The qualifying score in Florida for this award is a 217, higher than the average qualifying score for the United States: 216.25. This score is not the same thing as the PSAT score. It is determined by the critical reading, writing and math subscores all added together and multiplied by two. Commended students had to score 209 or higher.
Last year, the PSAT changed its format because the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) did so. The test was revised so that the critical reading and writing section scores were combined into one score, while the math score included both a calculator section and a no calculator section.
Because of the combined “evidence-based reading and writing” section score, last year’s PSAT had a maximum score of 1520, with 760 being the maximum score in each category.
Another change is that incorrect answers did not result in a penalty, making the test more similar to the American College Test (ACT).
PBHS aims high for PSAT
The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) will be administered this year on Oct. 19.
According to testing coordinator Mr. Mumtaz, all freshmen and sophomores and 90 percent of juniors will be taking the test.
“We hope that some of them will get the National Merit Scholarship,” Mr. Mumtaz said.
This year, as the test is more familiar to some of the students, as it is now a year old, scores are expected to rise.
“We hope to increase the National Merit Qualifying Test scores and to support students in learning,” Mr. Mumtaz said.
Students seem to be aiming high, as well.
“I didn’t really study for it last year and I did decent,” junior Maileen Ruiz said. “But, I’d obviously like to score higher this year.”
Some students are excited for the experience that the PSAT can provide.
“I feel as if (the PSAT) can help me to succeed in my attempt at the SAT, and it can, in the long run, help me get into a better college,” junior Garrett Moore said.