âI havenât started to study yet,â said sophomore Tim Greene, âbut Iâve looked at the pamphlet to find out what day it is.â The date is the 12th of October, and it marks the return of the PSAT, or National Merit Scholar Qualifier Test, to Ames High School. The PSAT is not only an excellent benchmark for what students can expect from other standardized tests, such as the SAT and ACT, but it can also open the door for qualification to the National Merit Scholarship program for juniors. However, this year, students donât seem to be studying as much as past years. âI have only looked at the pamphlet, not started to study,â said sophomore Hunter Preuger. What can explain this lack of preparation? Perhaps students cannot find the time for studying with the rest of their coursework. Perhaps apathy is to blame. Perhaps it can be chalked up to procrastination. Whatever the cause, this is troubling. Without proper preparation, the PSAT, perhaps the least daunting of the standardized tests, can seem long, tedious, and difficult. Preparation for the exam will no doubt produce better scores, and better scores can elevate our schools already high prestige, as well as producing scholarship opportunities for PSAT takers. Studying for the PSAT should consist of learning test taking strategies, answering practice questions, and taking practice tests. No matter how cramped your schedule may seem, there is, in most cases, time for studying. Just squeezing in 45 minutes per day can help to improve your score. Believe me, I know how hard it can be to make yourself buckle down and study, especially for something without immediate repercussions. I know the feeling âbut itâs three weeks awayâ. Iâve been down that study-less road, and have regretted it. When it gets right down to it, one must force themselves to understand the importance of the test, especially juniors, who can qualify for National Merit. Forward thinking is always a good thing, and there is no better way to employ it than by investing in your own future. 45 minutes per day, for 2 weeks. Thatâs all. So buckle down and do it. Letâs see a bunch of National Merit Qualifiers this year.