Juniors will take an updated version of the PSAT


photo via flickr.org under Creative Commons license

A scantron, what the PSAT is taken on.

Lucas Rosen, Video Editor

This year, the PSAT, or Preliminary SAT, has been updated so that it is closer to the new SAT. The test is now two hours and forty-five minutes, as opposed to the previous two hours and ten minutes, according to the College Board. The 2015 PSAT focuses more on evidence-based reading and writing, which is different from the previous PSAT, which emphasized memorization rather than actually learning.

Older versions of the exam required testers to remember vocabulary words by definition, but the updated version is more about deducing the word’s definition through the sentence’s context. “I think it’s a good idea because it’s aligned more to Common Core,” said counselor Susan Howe said.

For years now, Clark Magnet juniors and sophomores have been offered the choice to take the PSAT for only $20. The test prepares them for the SAT and it can also get some students scholarships, depending on their score on the test. “If you do well, the college board gets your name out there and sends it to schools and makes you eligible for scholarships that you can’t access otherwise,” Howe said. Howe encourages both juniors and sophomores to take the test.

If students plan on taking the SAT, she recommends that they take the PSAT first, which will give them more of an idea on how to score highly on the SAT. PSAT sales will end on Sept. 30, and the test will be held on Oct. 14, lasting the first two periods of the day.