March 1, 2002

PSAT Exam: A Key Step in Preparing Middle School Students For College

Attention parents of eighth-grade students: Did you know that there are certain steps your child can be taking now to prepare for college? In addition to developing good study and homework skills, staying academically motivated, and participating in extracurricular activities, eighth-graders can and should take the PSAT, or Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test before entering high school.

Why is the PSAT important? "The PSAT is actually one of the best ways to help prepare young students for a key college entrance exam known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT I, which is usually given in the junior or senior year of high school," says Nicole Jackson, assistant director and testing coordinator in the Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) at the University of California, San Diego.

By taking the PSAT early and retaking it later in high school, students receive a constant barometer on how they are measuring up for the important SAT I, says Jackson.

"The PSAT acts as a rehearsal for taking the SAT," she says, adding that a good score on the SAT I is necessary for entrance into many competitive colleges in the United States. By taking the PSAT (which measures verbal, math and writing skills), students have the opportunity to see which specific academic areas they need to improve in to do well on the actual SAT I, says Jackson.

The two-hour PSAT also exposes eighth-graders to taking a regulated college exam under real conditions, academic testing experts say.

The PSAT is typically offered in October, and at other times in the school year, at most high schools. Eighth-grade students may register for and take the PSAT at any high school. Parents of eighth-graders should check with the guidance counselor at the high school in their neighborhood for registration information.

EAOP advises students to continue taking the PSAT in the 9th, 10th and 11th grades. (Research shows that a majority of students who re-test score higher the second time around.)

EAOP, which serves more than 10,000 students at 96 middle schools and high schools in San Diego and Imperial counties, announces the following PSAT testing sites, dates and locations for EAOP students (8th, 9th and 10th graders):

Saturday, March 2:

San Marcos High School, 1615 San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos, School Library, Test begins: 8 a.m.

Oceanside Library Com-munity Room, 330 N. Coast Highway, Oceanside, Test begins: 8 a.m.

California State University, San Marcos, Academic Hall, Room 305, Test begins: 8 a.m. (No parking permit required)

Saturday, March 9:

University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, Solis Lecture Hall, Room 107, Test begins: 8 a.m. (No parking permit required)

Parents: While your child is testing at UCSD, attend a special workshop in Solis Hall on college admission requirements and financial aid. Free child care.

Call (858) 822-3094 for more information.

Southwest High School, 2001 Ocotillo Drive, El Centro (Imperial County), School Cafeteria, Test begins: 8 a.m.

Brawley High School, 480 North Imperial Ave., Brawley (Imperial County), School Cafeteria, Test begins: 8 a.m.

Saturday, March 16:

Eastlake High School, 1120 Eastlake Parkway, Chula Vista

School Cafeteria, Test begins: 8 a.m.

Southwest High School, 1685 Hollister, San Ysidro, School Cafeteria, Test begins: 8 a.m.

Castle Park High School, 1395 Hilltop Drive, Chula Vista

School Cafeteria, Test begins: 8 a.m.

Malcolm X Library, 5148 Market Street, San Diego, Test begins: 10 a.m.

All students and parents will be invited to attend an EAOP-sponsored follow up workshop in May or June to receive test scores and instruction test result interpretation. For more information, call EAOP at (858) 822-3094.

Return to the Frontpage