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High test scores prompt accolades

Lights shone and shimmered as four seniors stepped onto the stage in Ground Zero. With applause from the audience, each of them received a plaque and a firm handshake from Principal Gary Schultz and Vice Principal Jon Endicott.

Anne Hierholzer, Alex Elmore, Jesse Madsen and Chris White, all seniors, scored in the top 4% of the nation in the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT).

“1.4 million students take the PSAT each year,” Endicott said. “This is one way honor classes can pay off because you are better prepared then students who take easier classes.”

The PSAT tests a student’s math and verbal skills out of a possible score of 1600. Students are given around three hours to complete the test.

“The test was really easy even though I wasn’t feeling well when I took it,” White said. “All you have to do is remember the things you learned in high school and most importantly, drink coffee.”

White plans to apply to Fresno Pacific where he intends to major in criminal justice/pre law. On campus, he makes up a part of the drama team and holds the position of vice president for student leadership.

“I find it silly when people go to the seminars that cost money in order to prepare for the PSAT,” White said. “If you are that nervous about the PSAT, you can find free help guides on the Internet.”

Even though two of the seniors battled with sickness on the day of the test, they still scored in the top 4%.

“At first I thought I didn’t do well on the test because I was sick that day,” Hierholzer said. “For me, the math section was definitely harder then the verbal section.”

Hierholzer took the PSAT in her sophomore and junior years. She also plays the clarinet for the campus concert band and is a member of the Academic Decathlon team.

“Students should take the PSAT because the score doesn’t really count for anything,” Hierholzer said. “It is a stress-free introduction to all those college tests you will have to take in the future.”

Students pay $11 to take the PSAT during the month of October. Freshmen, sophomores and juniors are eligible to take the test.

“Preparing the SAT can be hard,” Elmore said. “It really helps to take the PSAT in your sophomore and junior years.”

Elmore was home schooled before he came to campus during his fourth grade year.

“I just wanted to get a relatively good score on the PSAT.” Elmore said. “So, I was surprised when I did so well.”

Students who score in the top 1% of the nation qualify to take the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT)

“I was pretty happy about getting such a high score,” Madsen said. “I didn’t even prepare for the PSAT.”

Madsen has taken the PSAT ever since he was a freshman. He plans to apply to USC or Long Beach State.

“My advice would be to just chill out and not worry about the PSAT,” Madsen said. “It’s not really a big deal because it’s just a practice test before you take the SAT.”

For more information about the PSAT, contact Endicott at [email protected]

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