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The student news site of iUniversity Prep in Grapevine, Texas


The student news site of iUniversity Prep in Grapevine, Texas



With the PSATs right around the corner, students at iUniversity Prep have been working together to get the best scores they can.
Amirah Santos Figueroa

Every year, thousands of students take some version of the PSAT, whether it be the PSAT 8/9, the PSAT 10, or the PSAT/NMSQT. These standardized tests can help to prepare students in the lower grades for the PSAT/NMSQT, which Juniors take to help determine scholarship eligibility. Yahia Osman has been working with Mrs. Carlin and Mr. Rains to create a group for students who want to prepare for these tests with other classmates. 


When asked about the purpose of the study group, Yahia said that he wanted to create the group because he was taking both the PSAT and the SAT this year, and he wanted to use his studying as an outlet to help other students who were also going to be taking these tests. Due to the upcoming test in October, the group has been focusing primarily on PSAT prep, and with the help of other students, has covered all major sections: reading, writing, and math.


When studying individually, it can be difficult to prepare and determine what aspects of the tests you need to study for the most. When asked about the benefits of group-studying, Mrs. Carlin said “When students have an opportunity to work together solving a problem, they get to talk through how the answer is correct and not just mark it and move on.” Mrs. Carlin did say that studying with a group “takes a little more time,” but that it’s worth it since “students can dive deeper in the why behind the answer just by hearing how others got the correct answer in multiple ways.”


The PSAT/SAT study group Google Chat initially had less than ten people, but at the time of writing, there are forty-four students populating the members list. When asked to discuss the rapid growth, and more specifically the reasoning behind it, Mrs. Carlin said “I think they just found like-minded people. That’s huge! These students encourage each other and go out of their way to help answer questions that pop up. The culture of the group is that they are focused and are there to get work done, but they are also fun and positive.” The group has its fair share of fun, but it’s clear that everyone in the meetings and the Google Chat are there for the purpose of succeeding.


The study group doesn’t consist only of Juniors who are taking the PSAT/NMSQT later this month. Yahia said that the group spans students in grades eight through eleven, though it didn’t start out that way. 


According to Yahia, Mrs. Carlin was the one who reached out to him about starting up the PSAT/SAT study group, but it was initially only going to be for high school students. About a week later, he said, Mrs. Carlin reached out to him about extending the invitations to eighth graders who may want to prepare for the PSAT 8. Unfortunately, at this point, the meeting times were already established, leading to some conflicts with eighth-grade Live Lesson times.


Studying is only useful if people can apply it, and Yahia thinks that this form of studying is helpful because “the group is mainly student-led, so the students feel a bit more comfortable that they’re being taught by someone more at their level, more that they can relate to because the teachers are all older and are more used to how they were taught.” Yahia expanded on this idea, saying “I’m trying to make it so that they’re studying things or doing practice tests that will benefit them as much as possible, and I’m trying to give them as much tips as I can.”


In the interview with Mrs. Carlin, she expanded on the benefits of the group being student-led, saying, “Having students lead the session gives them a voice in what they need rather than a teacher telling them. This can be empowering and effective! Students take control of what they feel is important and have opportunities to practice leadership skills by planning and preparing for the study sessions. Having a teacher there for guidance is important, but ultimately, the students gain confidence not just with exam-taking skills, but also in their ability to reflect on and direct their own learning.” 


The pros of the study group are obvious, and Yahia said that students don’t even need to share their scores. “Honestly I feel like as long as the kids are comfortable with asking for help and they’re able to ask for tips on studying, I feel like they’re going to find improvement in themselves. You don’t have to share your improvement,” he says, “we don’t want you to be uncomfortable, as long as you’re willing to ask for help when you need it, I’m pretty sure you’re improving in some way or another.” The benefits of the study group are numerous, and it doesn’t seem like Yahia is planning on stopping anytime soon.


In the interview, Yahia confirmed that he was planning on continuing the study group even after the PSATs, saying that he “plans on doing it until everyone takes the SAT.” Even though he’s graduating in 2025, he hopes that even after that point, “it manifests on and someone always comes up to lead.” 


Yahia also said that he had some pretty big plans for next semester relating to student presentations and studying, though he wouldn’t disclose more details than that. Mrs. Carlin also declined to comment on the future plans, but it seems reasonable to say that, if the new project is anywhere near as interesting as the PSAT/SAT study group currently is, the group will be in for a very interesting, engaging experience.


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About the Contributors
Erin O'Connell
Erin O'Connell, Extras Section Editor
Hi! I'm Erin O'Connell, and I'm in 11th grade at iUP. This is my second year at iUniversity Prep, and I really love being a member of this community! Some of my hobbies include cooking, baking, reading, writing, working on DIY projects, and playing instruments. I also love spending time with my family and my dog, and I'm one of the co-leaders of the Debate Club. I'm really excited to be a part of iHoot this year as a Section Editor!
Amirah Santos Figueroa
Amirah Santos Figueroa, Photography & Graphics Editor
My name is Amirah Santos Figueroa, and I'm a sophomore here at iUniversity Prep. This is my 3rd year at iUP and this year I will be your Photography & Graphics Editor at iHoot! I am extremely excited to start this job as I thoroughly enjoy creating graphics and collaborating with other students. Some more things I love include photography/cinematography, reading/writing, cars, and collecting vinyl records. Outside of school you'll probably find me working out, traveling, and listening to music! I'm happy to be a part of iHoot this year as the Photography & Graphics Editor and can’t wait to read and assist you guys with your graphics and articles :)

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    Avika TanejaOct 9, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    Being part of this study group has really helped me! Thank you all for your support! Also, amazing article!