Westminster Takes the PSAT


Ellie Johnson

What are the PSATs and what exactly are they used for?

October 29, 2020, proved to be an important and stressful day for the Westminster junior class. The PSAT, or Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, was given to assess their intelligence in reading, writing & language, and math in order to hopefully qualify for the National Merit Scholarship according to The Princeton Review.

Kaplan Test Prep says the test is scored on a scale of 320-1520, the average student earning roughly a 920. Amy Claire Godwin, junior, says that she does not have a target score, but she hopes to score higher than she did when she took it last year and hopefully qualify for the National Merit Scholarship, though she doubts she will.

The National Merit Scholarship, the main reason the test is taken, is worth $2,500 as a one-time payment, but the scholarship is fantastic to have on college applications as many colleges offer special scholarships to National Merit Finalists. For example, Richard Johnson, 2018 alumni of Westminster, said that he received a $196,000, 5 years, total package scholarship from the University of Alabama in which his status as a National Merit Finalist played a major role.

However, only one-fifth of a percent of high schoolers earn this scholarship according to Spark Admissions, so students should not stress too heavily over their score. If a student is one of many who do not get the scholarship, they still gain practice in test-taking before they take the more important tests: the ACT and SAT.