Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Nearly 20,000 sophomores across Idaho are set to take the first-ever statewide administration of the PSAT on Wednesday, October 16.

The Legislature provided funding this year so sophomores in Idaho’s public schools could voluntarily take the PSAT to help better prepare for college, career and a college entrance exam in their junior year. This builds on the successful Idaho SAT School Day, which provides every junior in Idaho’s public schools the opportunity to take the SAT paid for by the state.

Research has shown that students who take the PSAT perform better on a college entrance exam. Idaho students in the graduating class of 2013 who took the PSAT scored 213 more points on the SAT compared to their peers who did not participate in the PSAT.

By now, PSAT Student Guides have been distributed to all public high schools so every student has the opportunity to read test instructions, try sample problems, and understand basic testing strategies before sitting down to take the test. Educators should consider distributing PSAT Student Guides in English and mathematics classes and encouraging students to complete practice exercises.

By working with the Student Guide, students can become more familiar with the PSAT. It also helps students master testing strategies, such as, Will I get penalized for a wrong answer? The answer is yes, there is a small penalty for wrong answers on the PSAT. Therefore, if students do not know the correct answer, the best strategy is to guess if you can eliminate one or two answer choices. Otherwise, leave the question blank.

Results from the PSAT will be released in December. At that time, teachers and students will receive detailed feedback on each student’s academic content knowledge and critical thinking skills in three subject areas: Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing.

Schools can use these results to help place students in courses for the next school year and better prepare them to take the SAT in the spring of their junior year.

The hard copy PSAT Student Guide is provided by the high school and includes a full-length PSAT practice test. Electronic copies of the PSAT Student Guide also are available online if you have not yet received one at school.

Best of luck to all Idaho sophomores next week!

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