National Merit Scholarship Brings New Opportunities

The National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is being held at FHS this Thursday here’s everything that Juniors need to before hand.


The NMSC logo is modeled after a burning oil-lamp and symbolizes knowledge and wisdom that is found in everyone.

Elicia Ramu, Editor

Grab your Pencils and calculators because it’s test time! 

On Thursday, October 29th all Juniors will be required to report to the school by 7:45 a.m. where they will be split up alphabetically by last name where students will sit as they get ready to take the PSAT/NMQST. For those who don’t know what the NMQST is, it stands for National Merit Qualifying Test which is a test that students are required to take in either their sophomore or junior year as a way of entering into the New Merit Scholarship Competition along with thousands of other students. Don’t worry though there’s no pressure whatsoever it’s just like taking a normal PSAT that students have to take annually their first two years of high school. Nervous about how things will work and what you need to do to prepare? Don’t worry it’s all right here. We’ll go everything with you to make sure that you’re set and ready for your test Thursday. 

What Is the National Scholarship?

According to, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s mission is to “Recognize and honor the academically talented students of the United States. NMSC accomplishes its mission by conducting nationwide academic scholarship programs.” They do this through a bunch of enduring programs that include: 

  • Promoting a wider and deeper respect for learning in general and for the exceptionally talented individuals. 
  • Shining a spotlight on brilliant students while encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence at all levels of education 
  • Stimulating increased support from individuals and organizations that wish to sponsor scholarships to those who have outstanding scholastic talent. 

The Qualifying test itself is pretty simple. It’s just like taking your PSAT’s normally. As a junior, you have had two years of practice for this test and just like always there is no pressure. Everyone just wants you guys to do your best. 

How Will Thursday Work for Students? 

Thursday will be a semi-normal day with students still arriving at school by 7:45 however it is highly recommended that they get to the school earlier to get the process of the test going faster. 

“Thursday will be like a normal PSAT day, however, instead of being in your advisory classes, you will be divided alphabetically due to COVID. Students will need to be in their room promptly at 7:45 to start the pre-administration.” 

For those that don’t know pre-administration is normally done a week before in student’s advisory classrooms however due to COVID and our Hybrid-Learning schedule, this step was skipped because it can’t be done virtually. So with that being said the first thirty minutes of testing will be spent getting that step taken care of and then testing will begin around 8:30 a.m. and end around 11:30-12:00 p.m. 

How to Prepare: 

One of the first things to do when preparing for these types of tests is to pack a bag with everything you need for test day the night before. That being said grab a calculator, some #2 pencils, a water bottle, snack, erasers, and an extra mask just in case and have it all in your bag ready to go for the morning. 

If you want to get some extra studying in there is also going to be study books and practice tests available in the front office for students to pick up if they want to get some extra practice in. 

“Review geometry and algebra skills and terms, review English vocabulary, and grammar. I am sure there are some YouTube videos or Khan Academy videos about the NMSQT that can give you some ways to study for it as well.” Mrs. Santos answered when asked how students could prepare for Thursday. 

“Get some good sleep and eat well!” she added. Getting a good night’s sleep and eating well is a key part of studying and preparing for these standardized tests and they benefit students greatly. 

What Will Non-Test Takers Be Doing Thursday? 

As for the rest of the FHS student body, they will all be at home working asynchronously and using Thursday as a workday and catch up day. This means that students at home will not be logging into Webex or going to school for any reason. Work will be assigned to students Thursday but the majority of the day will consist of catch-up work for students. Seize the day as we are slowly nearing the end of the semester and want to keep those grades up. 

“Take care of yourself by eating well and getting enough sleep. If you feel like you need to brush up on some skills, take a couple of hours to do so, but do not stress out over it. All of the classes you have taken in math and English have prepared you for this test and you know this information. Also BE ON TIME: one of the most stressful things that cause anxiety is lack of preparedness or being late.” Mrs. Santos said when asked what the best advice she can give students is. 

Mrs. Santos couldn’t have said it any better either. This is a normal day and there is no reason to stress whatsoever. You’ve taken the classes, you know the material and you are going to great. All anyone asks of you is to try your best that’s it. There’s no pressure. So relax, take some deep breaths and believe. As Mrs. Santos said in her final statement “Be sure to give yourself positive messages throughout the day. Do not put yourself down, but rather talk yourself up about your performance on the test. You WILL do WELL, you DO know the material, you HAVE the skills necessary…you are going to PERFORM WELL!!!!” She couldn’t have said it any better either. You guys will do great and we’re all wishing you luck throughout your test day as well.