PSAT Penang Style

19172869I recently took in a Year 9 student from Tenby International School for PSAT tuition. It is the first time I’m tutoring PSAT in Penang and I am anticipating quite an experience from it. I had blogged on SAT Penang Style a little while back where I highlighted certain misapplications of the SAT around this part so let’s now talk PSAT Penang Style.

A central purpose of the PSAT is to provide firsthand practice for the SAT. However, this grounding is invariably not the case in Penang. Often, the objective of schools which put up PSAT for their students is just to benchmark the academic standings of their students against a prominent standardized test. Regrettably, there would typically be no follow-
through to what really should be the end game – the SAT.

With that kind of outlook, students will essentially sit for their PSATs impromptu. As a result, their scores won’t stack very well against those of other PSAT takers (in the US) with the standard approach and whose results are what the reported general averages and percentiles are based on. So what effects will that have on the morale and esteem of our Penang students?

As if that’s not enough of a setback, we typically don’t emphasize enough to our PSAT takers that depending on their year levels in school, there could be questions on the tests that are not yet covered in the their curricula to-date and that they should interpret their scores accordingly. This is particularly crucial for those who are at lower year levels in view of safeguarding their confidence against any undue knocks.

Lastly, although the PSAT is a selection index in NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), this does not apply to us. Only U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents are eligible for the NMSP (National Merit Scholarship Program). Otherwise, the test might just enjoy a whole different profile around here. In the meantime, PSAT courses are but offered only as ECA’s (Extra-Curricular Activity), if at all and our students are only too quick to regard them duly as such too. This is PSAT Penang Style.

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