PSAT Testing

On October 16th, Issaquah HS students will be on an adjusted schedule for the school day.  Seniors are encouraged to spend this time working on college applications and essays and other independent work.  Juniors and Sophomores will be taking the PSAT from 10:10am-1:30pm.  Freshman will have three sessions each one hour in length including a guest speaker, work with counselors on career cruising and part of their graduation requirement High School and Beyond Plan, and take part in a Social Emotional Lesson (SEL).  The schedule for the day is as follows:


Issaquah High School

Modified Schedule


OCTOBER 16, 2019


Activities     10:10-1:30

9th: Guest Speaker; SEL Lessons; and Career Cruising

10th-11th: PSAT

12th: Independent work


Lunch          1:30 – 2:00

Period 1       2:05 – 2:15

Period 2       2:20 – 2:30

Period 3       2:35 – 2:45

Period 4       2:50 – 3:00

Period 5       3:05 – 3:15

Period 6       3:20 – 3:30

Period 7      3:35 – 3:45

Before the test:  If a student in 10th or 11th grade has not pre-bubbled in their answer sheets, they must come in to the main office and complete the pre-bubbling before Friday, October 11th at 3pm.  In the Counseling Office and Main office are practice test booklets for students who would like to practice and learn more about the test.  Please come by and pick one up. 


The Day of the Test:  On the windows in the front of the school will be posted all student names and Room numbers.  Students must find their room locations.


9th graders will find their room locations for each session. 


10th and 11th grade students who are testing will need to bring pencils, calculator, a snack, and their student ID.  Students need to arrive early and not be late.  There are no make ups, so the testing begins at 10:10 am on October 16th.   

***Students with 504 and IEP Accommodations at Issaquah HS--Please realize that in order to receive accommodations for the PSAT and SAT, students must apply for these accommodations at  Only College Board can approve these accommodations for testing on these tests.  Issaquah HS does not provide accommodations on PSAT or SAT only those previously requested and granted by College Board on these tests (things often considered for students with an IEP are things like 50% extended time, 100% extended time, small group testing, large bubble sheets, etc.)   


12th graders will be in the College and Career center if they need help with college essays or applications.


Immediately after testing is complete, there will be one lunch period and students will have 10 minute classes. 


After the Test:  Students who took the PSAT will be assessed/charged the $17 fee.  This is different in previous years as it is being assessed only to those students who test on October 16th.  Please make sure to pay this fine with our school bookkeeper before the next dance or sport season.  Issaquah HS will receive test scores right before Winter Break.  Students in 10th and 11th grade will meet in the Commons in December and receive their score report and test booklets.  


Important Testing Information:

“The PSAT Is a gateway to doing well on the SAT or even ACT.  The PSAT is essentially a gateway to doing well on the SAT. Because the primary aim of the PSAT is to prepare you for the SAT (hence its name, "Preliminary SAT"), the two tests share several similarities. As a result, prepping for the PSAT can give you an early sense of what SAT content areas you'll need to strengthen and what strategies and approaches work well for you. Even if you're planning on taking the ACT instead of the SAT, PSAT can still help you get used to the kinds of questions and content you'll need to know since there are many similarities between the ACT and SAT.  Your PSAT score can predict your SAT score.  The PSAT essentially shows you how well you’d perform on the SAT if you were to take it at that exact moment in time. Lastly, PSAT test prep is essential if you’re hoping to qualify for National Merit. All juniors who take the PSAT are automatically entered into the National Merit Scholarship Program, which awards annual $2,500 scholarships to top scorers. To qualify as a Semifinalist, you must reach or exceed state of WA PSAT Cutoff score. “    From Peterson’s

Helpful Hints: “Don’t cram the night before you take the test. Get your studying out of the way a couple of days in advance of taking the test, so that the night before you take the test you can relax and get some rest. Your brain needs to refresh and be prepared for the test. If you have to, skim over certain strategies, but don’t spend too much time studying the night before. If you don’t know an answer, guess! You don’t lose points for wrong answers, but you do lose points for skipped answers. Random guessing won’t do much for your score, but if you can make an educated guess (where you eliminate at least one of your answer choices), you can boost your chances of getting the question right. This helps when you feel stuck on the right answer but want to move on and can rule out at least one of the other answer choices.”    From College Board


Test Anxiety Tips:

“According to the ADAA, causes of test anxiety may include a fear of failure, lack of adequate prep time, or bad experiences taking tests in the past. You're not alone! Here's what you can do to stay calm in the days leading up to and during your test.

1. Be prepared.--Yes, this seems obvious, but it bears repeating. If you feel confident that you’ve prepped thoroughly, you’ll feel more confident walking into the test.

2. Get a good night’s sleep.-- Cramming is never the answer, and pulling an all-nighter can exacerbate your nerves. Having adequate rest (9–10 hours per night) is likely to be more beneficial than rereading a text until dawn.

3. Fuel up. -- Eat a nutritious breakfast before the test and pack smart snacks for ongoing energy. Look for foods that offer a steady stream of nutrients, rather than a sugar high followed by a crash.

4. Get to classroom—or the testing site—early.--Feeling rushed will only amp up the anxiety. Pack everything you need (Pencils, Calculator, ID) the exam the night before and set the alarm, so you can get out the door on time.

5. Have a positive mental attitude.  -- Bring a picture of your happy place or come up with a morale-boosting mantra like “I can do this” or “I worked hard and deserve this.” Peek at your picture or recite your mantra, right before the test begins.

6. Read carefully.--Read the directions thoroughly and read all answers before making a choice or starting the essay. There is nothing worse than putting time into a question and realizing you are not solving for x, or the response is off target. Slowing down can help you stay focused.

7. Just start.   --The blank page can maximize your anxiety. After you’ve read the directions, dive right in. Or, find some questions you can ace to build up your confidence and momentum. You can always go back and change things later in that section if needed, but a few quick answers can get the ball rolling.

8. Don’t pay attention to what other people are doing.--Everyone else is scribbling away? Ack! What do they know that you don’t? It doesn’t matter. Pay attention to your own test and pace, and forget about the other students in the room.

9. Watch the clock .-- Realizing that time is almost up and there are lots of test questions left can make it hard to do anything useful in those final minutes. Stay on pace by scoping out the whole test before getting started. Mentally allocate how much time you’ll spend on each section. If there’s time to recheck, even better.

10. Focus on calm breathing and positive thoughts.--Deep breathing can slow down a beating heart or a racing mind, so practice these techniques at home. The very act of concentrating on breathing and thinking can biometrically alter those anxious feelings.

Sometimes just remembering that some  test-taking anxiety is a normal part of school can help make it easier to handle.”  From Princeton Review



What is the PSAT?

The PSAT/NMSQT is the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.  It is a standardized test that provides sophomores and juniors with the opportunity to get ready for the official SAT. It also gives junior students a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools. The PSAT is an annual national test, offered in October each year.  There are no make-up dates for this opportunity.

The PSAT is written and scored by the College Board, the same company that writes and scores the SAT, and the testing environment is very similar to the actual SAT environment.  In addition to the physical experience of taking the standardized test, each student receives personalized feedback on each section of the test, and can log into a personalized planning guide based on their test results on This is a low-stakes testing opportunity – the PSAT scores are not sent to colleges, and are not a part of the college application process for any student. For sophomores, scores are purely for their own self-knowledge. For juniors, the PSAT scores are used as qualifying data for the National Merit Scholarship Competition, but this is the ONLY thing their scores are used for other than their own information.

What are the benefits of taking this test?

Because a college entrance test (SAT or ACT) is a required part of nearly every four year college application process, any student who is considering direct enrollment at a four year college would benefit from participating in the PSAT. Taking the PSAT familiarizes students with the kind of questions, style of directions, and physical environment of a SAT exam, and provides students with a projected SAT score range, excellent personalized feedback and a study plan. This is an incredibly affordable way to prepare for a college entrance exam. For our highest performing students, the PSAT is also the way they can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Competition.

For your tenth grader, this test provides a completely no-stakes opportunity to get acquainted with the standardized testing environment and format. It’s also a great opportunity for students who have difficulties with test-taking situations to prepare, get practice and receive personalized feedback in a safe environment, before taking the real SAT/ACT at the end of their Junior year.

Students who take the PSAT:

  • Receive feedback on their strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study. They can then focus your preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice.
  • See how their performance on an admissions test might compare with that of others applying to college.
  • Can enter the competition for scholarships from NMSC (grade 11).
  • Help prepare for the SAT, and to become familiar with the kinds of questions and directions they will see on the SAT.
  • Receive information from colleges if they check "yes" to Student Search Service.

How can my student prepare for this test?

Students will receive a PSAT Study Guide prior to the test, which will help them learn more about the exam and testing day. This guide provides useful tips, test-taking strategies, practice questions, a full PSAT practice test, etc.

When do we get the results?

Results from this test will be released by College Board home in late January. The results include personalized feedback and a free personalized online SAT study resources. Learn more from at The College Board PSAT information page about how to interpret your PSAT scores, how to access your personalized SAT study plan, and other tools on College Board to help create your road map to success!