Senior earns national recognition for PSAT scores

Senior Nathan Phillips was recognized as a National Merit Commended Student earlier this year for his PSAT scores during his junior year. More than 1.6 million students took the PSAT last year, placing Nathan in the top 50,000 students in the nation.

“I was really excited because being recognized as a National Merit Commended Student is important for college,” Nathan said. “It’s important both for acceptance and scholarships.”

Nathan dedicated time to truly prepare for the PSAT by studying both on his own and during his independent study class for IB.

“We focused on vocabulary development in class,” IB English teacher Lisa Prejean said. “Students also used Khan Academy to hone their test-taking skills.”

Khan Academy is a free online SAT preparation website that Nathan utilized in addition to studying class notes.

“I studied online with Khan Academy which helped helped me focus on the specific skills necessary to score well on the PSAT,” Nathan said. “I studied a lot of my notes from my classes, especially algebra II.”

Students hoping to do well on the PSAT not only need to focus on mathematics but their reading skills as well.

“In order to do well on the PSAT, students need to read – not only novels but nonfiction, news articles, and other media,” Prejean said. “Broadened reading provides students with models of strong sentence structure and context for learning new vocabulary.”

IB English classes focus on improving their close reading skills along with their ability to analyze passages provided for them.

“Nathan always exhibited strong analytical and writing skills,” Prejean said. “So I was not surprised to hear that he was named as a National Merit Commended Student.”

With the recognition he has earned, Nathan has a new asset to help him obtain his goals.

“I want to go to Texas A&M to major in biomedical engineering,” Nathan said. “Earning this recognition has helped me take one more step toward what I want to accomplish.”