10 Bob Jones Students Selected as National Merit Semi-Finalists

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10 Bob Jones Students Selected as National Merit Semi-Finalists

Zachary Johnson, Writer

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Last October, Bob Jones sophomores and juniors filed into the auditorium to take a standardized test, lasting two hours. The Preliminary SAT (PSAT) is a mandatory test for sophomores and will be required for juniors, too, for the first time this year. The point of the national test was to qualify high scoring students for scholarships and to gauge skills and weaknesses in academics. In early September, the PSAT students got their results. Ten students from Bob Jones were selected as National Merit (NMSQT) Semi-Finalists.

Out of 1.5 million students tested, 50,000 of the highest performers were whittled down to 16,000, who would then be selected as National Merit Semi-Finalists. Soon, those 10 students will compete for a spot as National Merit Finalists.

“To score at National Merit Semi-Finalist level, students can only miss a few questions on the PSAT,” Robin Dauma, a PSAT prep teacher at Bob Jones, said. “Most students have a prior test to compare to, and they know which skills they need to work on. Some students have the self-discipline to study on their own time, using test prep books and other class materials to review math, reading, and language skills.”

NMSQT semifinalist Michaela Philip said, “I definitely decided that it was something I wanted to work towards because I knew that colleges would see that as a good sign and some schools offer really nice scholarships if you’re a finalist. My sister was a finalist way back in the day so I kind of knew the importance and what it could get you and it felt like something I wanted so I just decided to work for it and try my best.”

The PSAT is not just another test for some students. Many will devote major fractions of their weekends just to study, and not have any idea how they did for months. 

“10 semifinalists is a pretty big amount for one school here, and I really think we owe that to our teachers cause they work so hard to make sure that we’re understanding the material and learning strategies to perform at our highest possible level,” Philip said. “Even with the incredible support we have from teachers, I had to spend a lot of time studying and preparing and I know that if I hadn’t, then I wouldn’t have made it. It feels good to know that I prepared and studied for this and accomplished it by myself and because of my hard work. Honestly, I think a little bit of this comes down to luck or blessings I guess whichever you believe in.

This October, sophomores and juniors alike will be required to take the PSAT, so take your time and study!

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