SAT/PSAT to be administered to all high school students on Oct. 14


Courtesy of Khan Academy

Mallory Richardson, Writer

For the first time, all high school students will either take the PSAT or the SAT this fall. 

The PSAT is a practice test for the SAT, qualifies students to take dual credit classes in their junior and senior year, and is used as an entrance qualifier for juniors into the National Merit Scholarship Program. The SAT is used as a college entrance exam and scholarship qualifier for seniors. Both tests consist of four sections with Reading, Writing and Language, and Math with and without calculator.

Central Heights High School Counselor Lauren Tyler said all students will begin the test Wednesday, October 14, 2020, at 8:00 AM. 

“Students in grades 9-11 will take the PSAT ending around 11:15 and seniors will take the SAT ending around 12:15,” Tyler said. “I am encouraging late arrival or dual credit students to talk to their professors now so that they are prepared and have time to get a note from the school if needed.”

The test is mandatory and all students grades 9-12 are pre-registered. 

“There is no risk in taking the tests,” Tyler said. “Colleges aren’t going to see the tests unless you release it to them.” 

The test is mandatory for all students, but for good reasons. 

“More opportunity, more practice, and our seniors didn’t get a lot of opportunities for testing last year, and many of them haven’t tested at all,” Tyler said. “It also gives teachers an opportunity to plan lessons to make sure our students are getting the best scores that they can.”

The tests will be administered in classrooms on campus during the school day, which will eliminate the stress of testing in an unfamiliar environment on an early Saturday morning, as has been done in the past. 

“This is actually a huge benefit,” Tyler said. “It’s statistically linked with a higher score when students are able to test where they are comfortable.” 

Teachers and staff will be administering the tests, and they will undergo online training prior to test day. 

“I will be administering a group and probably Mr. Vick as well,” Tyler said. “It will take all of us to make this happen.”

Students will not have to pay to take either test, which is a great opportunity for practice. 

The tests are being paid for out of the State of Texas TEA College, Career, and Military Readiness Allotment Funds,” Tyler said. “The program was passed last year, but this is the first year that Central Heights is eligible to use it.”

SAT test results will be back in four weeks or less, but PSAT results will not be back until the middle of December. 

“The test administrator College Board is going to try and expedite the SAT scores for seniors applying to college,” Tyler said. “However, they can’t promise anything.”

Students do not have to prepare for the tests like normal tests they take at school; however, it is encouraged that they use Khan Academy, an online practice and study service directly affiliated with the College Board, to get acquainted with the information. Students may also talk to Tyler for more resources and packets.