De Soto providing classes in preparation for PSAT


Chase Culver

Junior Natalie Nusz studies for the upcoming PSAT.

Ethan Ferguson, Staff Reporter

The practice SAT, or PSAT, held on Oct. 16, is a strenuous three-hour test that can provide a great practice experience  for students to excel on the SAT exam. 

Preparing for the test can be overwhelming for some students. With this in mind, English teacher Phillip Hamilton and assistant band director Philip Kaul are providing prep classes for those taking the PSAT. Classes take place after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. 

These prep classes  prepare students for the three main sections of the test. There will be two small math sections, one with a calculator and one without, as well as reading and writing sections. The math portions will be taught by Kaul and the portions of reading and writing will be taught by Hamilton. 

The inception of these classes originally began after last year’s test results came in, showing promising scores that, if improved, could land students National Merit benefits. 

“There were a number of people from the junior class [last year] who were really close to the point total for National Merit finalist. . . we had the opportunity to support students more than we had in the past,” Hamilton said. 

The PSAT will provide students with benefits for National Merit opportunities, but also test experience for future rigorous tests such as the SAT and ACT. Although the PSAT may have lower stakes for sophomores taking the test for practice, success on this test for juniors could mean large scholarships. 

“It can be pretty high stakes for juniors who are shooting for that designation, we just want to make sure that our students are as prepared as possible,” Kaul said. 

Because students taking the prep classes are shooting for these goals, there is no shortage of effort and commitment from them. 

“It’s been really productive and a positive atmosphere where everyone is working hard and improving at the things that are weaknesses and showing their areas of strength,” Kaul said. 

The class ultimately utilizes a workbook that students paid for at the beginning of the course, with practice tests being taken during class time as well. According to Kaul, doing work at home is encouraged to the students, but is not mandatory. 

On top of giving students materials and direction for the test, the class provides students with new strategies for test day. Junior Connor McCall believes that the PSAT classes will improve his score on this years PSAT. 

“I took the PSAT as a sophomore and I got a fairly high score, but I wanted to make sure I knew strategies to do even better this year and possibly qualify to be a National Merit scholar,” McCall said. 

With the addition of these voluntary after-school classes, Hamilton and Kaul hope to improve students scores and put them in a better position for their futures as well.