Only a certain few know the feeling of being nationally recognized for their performance on the PSAT. Kettle Run is host to several commended merit scholars and two semifinalists.
The Merit Scholar award recognizes those in the nation who have excelled specifically on the PSAT. Taken during junior year, the PSAT measures a students all around academic abilities. The PSAT scores are then accumulated and compared to produce a list of students, on the national level, who are then considered for the Merit Scholar award. The first round of students are commended, and from there can become semi-finalists who then have the chance at moving on to an overall finalist position.
Merit Scholar competitors at Kettle Run break down what it is like to be at the top in recognition for their academic performance.
Senior semi-finalist Miles Housley, who received an accumulative score of 1570 on the official SAT, reflects back on the time he spent preparing for the PSAT and SAT.
“I expected a high score for myself, because I put in a lot of time studying and preparing for [the tests],” Housley said.
In terms of expectations, the recognized scholars had varied perspectives going into the exam.
“I expected the test to be somewhat difficult but not terrible. I had been reviewing for a little bit of time, but I think that the most important part is remembering to stay relaxed and confident in what you know,” Ethan Jakum,, commended senior, said.
“I expected the test to be like any other,” said semi-finalist, Natalie Seyler. “I didn’t want to work myself up too much. So I worked really hard not to let the pressure get to me. I think I did well because I approached it like any other test and stayed calm.”
Josie Krasny, commended senior, also worked to keep a calm outlook but said she felt confident in the majority of her answers.
On average, 1.6 million test scores are recorded by the National Merit Scholarship Program, and are then narrowed down to the top 50,000 scores.
As the recognized scholars begin to close out their experience with standardized testing, and move forward towards college applications, they provide their own advice on completing an effective SAT.
“The main thing is to not panic and stay focused throughout the entire test,” said Krasny. “You have to get into a mindset that is hyper focused on the test and keep it up until you’re done.”
“Testing can be really stressful, especially if you think about how much SAT’s can affect your chances of getting into certain schools,” Seyler said. “My advice to new SAT test takers would have to be not to think about what the test means for them in the long run. If you go into the test thinking that your future is reliant on this one score, you probably aren’t going to do very well. So I would say to try and forget what test you are taking and just go into it with a calm mind and perform the way you would on any standardized test.”
“Everything on the test is material we have all learned before,” Joseph Kim, commended scholar, said. “The SAT is primarily gauging your test taking, not how well you can read a passage or answer an algebra question. The best thing to do is to move quickly and answer questions to the best of your ability, so you at least have something answered. And then backtrack to the questions that need more of your attention.”
Natalie Seyler and Miles Housley are still in the running to be named an official Merit Scholar.
“I am not that nervous about be named or not,” Seyler said. “The experience has been rewarding enough.