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Blossom'sGirl

PSAT - next week

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So, if I understand correctly, the PSAT next week is the first of the "new" format where guessing will not be penalized.  My 10th grade ds could not participate in our school district this year because they are doing a special test where only juniors that attend that school may take it.  It is a very small school district and I know the counselor personally and I know she is not just getting rid of us.  She also told me she is never agreeing to something like that again.

 

So I called another local, much larger, school district to take him.  They are fine with him coming, but she had no clue about the new PSAT.  I do realize she wasn't a guidance counselor, but she promised to ask one and get right back to me.  Which she didn't.  She has done this to me twice now.

 

It seems like the schools really don't take much interest in this test.  When I took my oldest 2 years ago for it, there were teachers coming into the office just learning that day that their students would be testing all morning.  Also, my niece who attends one of the best districts in NYS did poorly on her test because she didn't realize that guesses counted against you.  I don't know if they are given any preparation for these tests or maybe she just didn't follow directions.

 

So, is anyone else having their 10th grader take it this year?

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Mine is. And yes, they are disorganized at best at the school. I'm a bit nervous about it going well. We've done zero test prep as far as content, figuring this will be a baseline and then we have a year to prep for the one that counts for national merit. We will cover some basic test taking strategies though. 

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The school district where I work considers all PSAT tests as just practice for the SAT.  There is no prep at all for any of the students unless they choose to do it on their own (a few do).  College bound or leaning Sophomores and Juniors are encouraged to take it.

 

Due to my taking the 10 week long term assignment, this will be the first year in many that I'm not proctoring the test, so I've no insider information about what proctors are told to say/do, etc.  That info is usually somewhere on College Board's site if one wants to dig for it.

 

Wed I'll be showing a totally fun movie in two of my classes (probably Secondhand Lions) as I've no plan to push on when I'm missing half of my students (sophomores).  It's definitely a "lost day," but I can't see penalizing students who opt to take the test by doing a fun optional lab they'll miss or any instructional time.  It's not right to punish those still in class with a busywork assignment either.  I hate 100% "fluff" days, so I've debated this for a bit mentally and finally came to the conclusion that "what must be, must be."

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at my son's (10th grade) B&M charter all 10th and 11th graders take the PSAT

 

My son did the practice test Math sections - one without Calculator - one with 

There were a couple of tricky questions in the Calculator section but mostly straightforward for reasonably strong math students.

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My son did the practice test Math sections - one without Calculator - one with

There were a couple of tricky questions in the Calculator section but mostly straightforward for reasonably strong math students.

To me, the new math section looks pretty challenging for any but strong math students to complete in the allotted time. There are a lot of multi-step problems and I'm not certain if I would finish them all in 25 minutes. My kids aren't fast workers in math though, so my opinion may be skewed. I was disappointed to see so little geometry, only because my 10th grader is so strong in it. This test to me looks like a challenge for those that are just starting Algebra 2. That may be just the point, though. It certainly seems like it would do a good job at separating out the students who are at the very top. Run-of-the-mill "good" math students may not do very well.

 

Here's a series of reviews of the new test. I happened to agree with his assessment of the math part: https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2015/04/16/evaluating-the-new-psat-math/

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My 9th grader will be taking it at a private school that is accustomed to having homeschoolers take it there. We have been doing the Khan Academy practice and she just completed the official practice test yesterday. The link in the previous post about the increased difficulty of the math was very interesting.

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My 11th grader will be taking it at the main office for our school district.  They let homeschoolers, 9th-11th grades, take it free the same day the students take it at school.  They are very gung ho about the PSAT here!  Here's the link to the guide they sent out to everyone registered for it: http://www.nationalmerit.org/student_guide.pdf

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My 11th grader is taking the test, and the school is disorganized!  They aren't used to giving the PSAT during the week.  My son is finding the no-calculator math section hard, because he is running out of time.  And he never runs out of time on standardized tests, in fact he usually finishes a section with 10 minutes to spare.  But other than that he is finding it pretty straightforward.

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My 11th grader is taking the test, and the school is disorganized!  They aren't used to giving the PSAT during the week.  My son is finding the no-calculator math section hard, because he is running out of time.  And he never runs out of time on standardized tests, in fact he usually finishes a section with 10 minutes to spare.  But other than that he is finding it pretty straightforward.

 

While I'm sorry your ds is finding this issue as well, my dd will feel better to hear this.

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My 11th grader is taking it at the local high school too.  She took the practice test the guidance office gave me & she feels prepared.  She said the non-calculator math part was more difficult than the calculator part.  Other than that, the reading/writing portion was easier than her practice tests for the ACT.  

 

I did see where they are expecting the cut off for National Merit Scholarship to be lower than last year - at least in my state.  I'm not sure why or if that's even accurate.  

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I did see where they are expecting the cut off for National Merit Scholarship to be lower than last year - at least in my state.  I'm not sure why or if that's even accurate.  

 

I think the different cutoff scores are because they rescaled the test, the selection index used to be out of 240, and now it is out of 228 or something like that.  

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I think the different cutoff scores are because they rescaled the test, the selection index used to be out of 240, and now it is out of 228 or something like that.  

 

Yes - I didn't really understand the whole scoring process, but I'm hoping for a good outcome.  

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The public high school where my dc attend part-time gives the PSAT to all sophomores and juniors. My older ds took it last year with no prep (10th grade). This year he's doing some prep since he's hoping to get a high score. I know the school does a little bit of prep because younger ds is in a 10th grade English class, and they did some practice questions.

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My 10th grade son is taking this Wednesday at a local Christian school thru our oversight. They offered three test prep sessions that he could not attend because of a conflicting out of the home class (es). I found two practice tests but have not administered them yet as we got very sick. Perhaps tomorrow?

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To me, the new math section looks pretty challenging for any but strong math students to complete in the allotted time. There are a lot of multi-step problems and I'm not certain if I would finish them all in 25 minutes. My kids aren't fast workers in math though, so my opinion may be skewed. I was disappointed to see so little geometry, only because my 10th grader is so strong in it. This test to me looks like a challenge for those that are just starting Algebra 2. That may be just the point, though. It certainly seems like it would do a good job at separating out the students who are at the very top. Run-of-the-mill "good" math students may not do very well.

 

Here's a series of reviews of the new test. I happened to agree with his assessment of the math part: https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2015/04/16/evaluating-the-new-psat-math/

I don't disagree with the educationrealist assessment except that by 11th grade most future STEM students have completed Algebra 2 and this is a comparison test for college bound students so it HAS to have problems that show the outliers positive and negative  (I agree with your statement).  Whether the old SAT I took back in the day is better I just can't say.

 

Common Core Math does raise the bar and we all better get used it (personally I believe that Common Core Math is not a fit as much as 25% of the general student population but educators love one size fits all -  hence the rise of home-schooling).

 

Regular PSAT for most 9th graders is probably not recommended there is a new test for them.

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My 10th graders will be taking the PSAT this Wednesday at our local public school. They have to be there at 7:30 am. Ugh!  Are other testing sites starting that early, too?

 

If we use the homeschool code (vs the public school's code), will the results come directly to us?  Or do all results go to the test site administrator?

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My 10th graders will be taking the PSAT this Wednesday at our local public school. They have to be there at 7:30 am. Ugh! Are other testing sites starting that early, too?

 

If we use the homeschool code (vs the public school's code), will the results come directly to us? Or do all results go to the test site administrator?

You'll get the results directly at your home address.

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My 10th graders will be taking the PSAT this Wednesday at our local public school. They have to be there at 7:30 am. Ugh!  Are other testing sites starting that early, too?

 

Yup. My 10th grader is taking it at the local public school. They are STARTING at 7:30, so he has to be there at 7am.

 

At our school, their policy is that their own 11th graders get to register first, and then a week before the test it opens to 10th graders and any outside students (like homeschoolers). It made me a little nervous about whether he would get seat or not, but he's only in 10th grade and it turns out they did have plenty of room. Looking ahead to next year, though, it seems unfair for an 11th grade homeschooler to have access only to "leftover" seats. My ds is likely to be in the running for NMS, so I really want to be sure he'll have a seat next year!

 

He has prepped using Khan Academy a couple of hours a week for the last 6 weeks.  Last Thursday he did the full length practice test, and now he's done with prep.

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You'll get the results directly at your home address.

 

 

Unless the school district steals your kid's scores, as has happened here. It's happened twice--once when one of my kids forgot their hs code and the teacher refused to give it to her and once when the ps just flat changed the code. I've threatened a lawsuit if it happens again. When confronted, the ps just thought it was funny!

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Our school always starts at 7:30am.  Kids have to be in their room by the time that bell rings - and our school clock is a couple minutes faster than "real" time, so cutting it to the minute isn't wise.

 

Yes, the PSAT will start then too.  Kids check in with their homeroom so they don't get marked absent, then go directly to their PSAT testing room.  About 7:35 proctors will be reading official directions.  Between 7:30 and 7:35 we're assigning seats alphabetically.  If it's like the old test, we record who is sitting where just in case questions come up later on.

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Margaret, I just knew you'd post that story!

 

 

Well, I'm still mad about it! And I'm still mad that dd missed NMSQT because the ps shorted the kids by 45 minutes. I had quite the "discussion" about it with the new counselor on Friday.  :laugh:

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I just got a message from a friend on FB saying that at a PSAT meeting (?) with parents on Friday, the test prep person at a local, very expensive private school here, apologized for not knowing that the test would be the new format and therefore not adequately preparing the kids. He tried to tell the parents that the practice test was "just released". Funny, I taught a Summer class based on the official practice test in August, which was at least a few weeks after that test was released. 

 

I have been trying to give folks a heads-up about this new test for several months now. Panic is setting in. 

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It seems like my son's class of 2018 gets to be the guinea pig class. Lucky lucky  :glare:

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I am remarkably relaxed about the whole PSAT thing---which is amazing if you knew me in person.

 

We always said dd15 would be the one of our three kids who was most likely to reach the NMSF level for our state (high, but not the highest--ds was just under).

 

Well.

 

We're not sure if this will stay dd's 10th grade year or if she will jump ahead and graduate next year. It all depends on what response she gets in (first) December and (then) in March/April. If it is positive in the spring, this year will be her junior year. If not, this will be her sophomore year.

 

Normally i'd be making sure the kid in question has reviewed math, has done some test prep, amd has taken multiple practice tests.

 

Dd hasn't done any of that yet.

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It seems like my son's class of 2018 gets to be the guinea pig class. Lucky lucky  :glare:

 

 

My oldest was the guinea pig for the "new" SAT. Then, the next one got the "new new" SAT. Sure glad I forced her take it one more time in December before the switch. And now my last is the lucky year to get the "new new new" SAT. Maybe the College Board folks will figure out why folks have switched to the ACT. 

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I'm starting to get anxiety about this. He's in 10th, so no pressure, but I really want him to take it and get a baseline on this new test. The local school swears they are doing "same day paper registrations" for homeschool students. I've never heard of that, but that's what they said, and to be there by 7:15 to get registered. Hopefully it all works out. 

 

Oh, and my husband it turns out has an appt with a surgeon at 8:30, 45 minutes away, so I don't think he can keep the littles while I handle this. So that means waking up the 5 and 3 year old early (they normally get up about 7:15) and dragging them with me. Blergh. 

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I'm starting to get anxiety about this. He's in 10th, so no pressure, but I really want him to take it and get a baseline on this new test. The local school swears they are doing "same day paper registrations" for homeschool students. I've never heard of that, but that's what they said, and to be there by 7:15 to get registered. Hopefully it all works out. 

 

yes as long as the school ordered enough exam copies - I believe the PSAT uses the test itself as registration but the school has to "guess" a correct order size 

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yes as long as the school ordered enough exam copies - I believe the PSAT uses the test itself as registration but the school has to "guess" a correct order size 

 

Ok, that makes me feel better. They did take down his name and such, to order him a copy. 

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I'm starting to get anxiety about this. He's in 10th, so no pressure, but I really want him to take it and get a baseline on this new test. The local school swears they are doing "same day paper registrations" for homeschool students. I've never heard of that, but that's what they said, and to be there by 7:15 to get registered. Hopefully it all works out. 

 

Oh, and my husband it turns out has an appt with a surgeon at 8:30, 45 minutes away, so I don't think he can keep the littles while I handle this. So that means waking up the 5 and 3 year old early (they normally get up about 7:15) and dragging them with me. Blergh. 

 

We're doing it this year, 8th grade, for a pre-high school baseline. Our local charter school is following the same procedure of same-day registration.  They don't start until 8:30, though.  Whew!

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My two fifteen-year old 10th grade daughters are taking the regular PSAT at a local public high school. It was the second school I had to contact, but we got registered and confirmed right away. From what I can tell, there is far less hype at this school about the PSAT than the ACT.

 

Neither of my girls has done the PSAT before. They've used Kahn for practice, as well as Barron's new PSAT book, and the Ivy Global stuff that someone posted here. Today they did the College Board's free PSAT test. From what they've told me, the Reading and Writing portions seem comparable to the ACT, which they took in June. The PSAT math seems a little more challenging than the ACT's, but then again, I think my two just miss the ACT's Geometry problems. I guess they are as ready as they could be. Still, I'm glad they've got this year's test to use as practice.

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Last night I tutored a student from another local private school. Her school counselors don't seem to know this will be the new format tomorrow, either. 

 

I must say I am not impressed with these private schools and charter schools. What these kids don't learn is amazing. And several of them don't even use textbooks at all for their math classes -- it's all worksheets the teacher prints out. Those are great for practice, but all of the instruction has to come from notes the student takes. And I frequently find that the student has mistakes in her notes. Last night, for instance, we were working on some trig stuff, and the student had a flat-out wrong value in her notes. She insists that's what the teacher said. 

 

And then there's the fact that this one school says that if a student takes Algebra 1 as an 8th grader, it counts as Honors Algebra. But she is in the same classroom with some 9th graders, doing exactly the same work, and they get CP credit. That's not the way it's supposed to work. Oh, and if the student doesn't get an A in Pre-Algebra in 7th grade, they have to take Honors Pre-Algebra in 8th grade, and then when they take that same Algebra 1 class in 9th grade, it becomes Honors Algebra again. 

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My son has flat out refused to prep at all for this test, saying that it would "skew the results" for baseline purposes, lol. Oh well, I mainly want him to see the new format, next year is the year it counts. Sigh. 

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My son has flat out refused to prep at all for this test, saying that it would "skew the results" for baseline purposes, lol. Oh well, I mainly want him to see the new format, next year is the year it counts. Sigh. 

 

My ds refused to prep last year (10th grade) too. At the time I told him that was fine, as long as he agreed to do some prep for his 11th grade PSAT. And he is actually doing some prep right now!

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I must say I am not impressed with these private schools and charter schools. What these kids don't learn is amazing. And several of them don't even use textbooks at all for their math classes -- it's all worksheets the teacher prints out. Those are great for practice, but all of the instruction has to come from notes the student takes. And I frequently find that the student has mistakes in her notes. Last night, for instance, we were working on some trig stuff, and the student had a flat-out wrong value in her notes. She insists that's what the teacher said. 

 

 

Just because it is more expensive does not make it any better.  There are educrats running most schools today.

 

The worksheet thing is out of control in math classes these days.

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My son has flat out refused to prep at all for this test, saying that it would "skew the results" for baseline purposes, lol. Oh well, I mainly want him to see the new format, next year is the year it counts. Sigh. 

Ask him to review the exam format and expectations so none is a surprise on the test.  My DS did his baseline PSAT last year in 9th no prep except for review the test format.

 

When you get the results in December you can review each question online if desired.  In this respect, the College Board provides a lot of feedback.

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Ask him to review the exam format and expectations so none is a surprise on the test.  My DS did his baseline PSAT last year in 9th no prep except for review the test format.

 

When you get the results in December you can review each question online if desired.  In this respect, the College Board provides a lot of feedback.

 

wow, that is awesome!

 

And yes, I will have him review the format. He's taken the old one, last year, but not the new one. 

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OP here.  I am enjoying reading all the responses.  My ds has to be at the school at 7:00 am tommorrow.  So far he has done little to no prep so I guess it will be a baseline for him too.

 

Michelle

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According to the College Board website:

 

The PSAT 10 Is:

  • The same test as the PSAT/NMSQT.
  • Offered in the spring.
  • For 10th graders — but they can still take the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall.
  • Not considered for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

 

but if I go to prepscholar

 

 The PSAT 10 is designed for sophomores, and PSAT NMSQT is designed for juniors, so the PSAT NMSQT is slightly harder. 

 

and it's on a different scale

 

So is the 8/9 PSAT  :001_huh:

 

I mean, I guess it's fine since I'm just trying to get his feet wet with testing anyway and he'll be prepping for the new complete PSAT to take his junior year, but talk about confusing! If you don't know that it's a different scale AND lower difficulty, your kid could be in for a sudden esteem bust when their score lowers from sophomore to junior year. Sigh...should have signed up for the one for tomorrow.

 

 

 

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I've got a quesiton about the "no penalty" for guessing. So if a student answers only 5 quesions in one section and gets all 5 correct, they get a perfect score?  Does the score somehow take into account the questions left blank? Thanks

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I've got a quesiton about the "no penalty" for guessing. So if a student answers only 5 quesions in one section and gets all 5 correct, they get a perfect score?  Does the score somehow take into account the questions left blank? Thanks

 

No, a blank question and a wrong one are treated the same - 0 points. Before, a blank answer was 0pts and a wrong answer was negative a fraction of a point. 

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I've got a quesiton about the "no penalty" for guessing. So if a student answers only 5 quesions in one section and gets all 5 correct, they get a perfect score?  Does the score somehow take into account the questions left blank? Thanks

 

Yes, the score takes into account the questions left blank. The number of correct answers is your "raw score." So if you only answer 5 questions correctly, the raw score is 5. Then you can use the college board's charts to convert that to a section score and total score. Previously, they started with the number of correct answers, but subtracted out a fraction of the number of wrong answers. Now there is no subtraction for wrong answers. Therefore it is beneficial to the student to fill in an answer for every question, even if it is a random guess. This explains more:

 

https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/pdf/scoring-psat-nmsqt-practice-test-1.pdf

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Anyone have any idea how critical a calculator will be on the calculator-allowed math section?  Is it critical for doing certain problems? Or is it mostly to save time?

I haven't encouraged my oldest to use calculators. They've used & are familiar enough with the relatively uncomplicated TI-30Xa. However, that one is not on the list of PSAT-approved calculators.  Last year, I bought them fancy TI Inspire calculators (which are approved) for a class, but they ended up not using them at all. The TI Inspires are so complicated that they might be more of an obstacle than a help at this point.

 

Do you think they could use the simpler TI-30's or are the test sites absolute sticklers about only calculators from the approved list?

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Anyone have any idea how critical a calculator will be on the calculator-allowed math section?  Is it critical for doing certain problems? Or is it mostly to save time?

 

I haven't encouraged my oldest to use calculators. They've used & are familiar enough with the relatively uncomplicated TI-30Xa. However, that one is not on the list of PSAT-approved calculators.  Last year, I bought them fancy TI Inspire calculators (which are approved) for a class, but they ended up not using them at all. The TI Inspires are so complicated that they might be more of an obstacle than a help at this point.

 

Do you think they could use the simpler TI-30's or are the test sites absolute sticklers about only calculators from the approved list?

 

Is the TI-30 a scientific calculator? It looks to me like all scientific calculators are ok:

 

https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt-psat-10/taking-the-tests/test-day-checklist/approved-calculators

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From the official student guide (p 32):

 

"On the Math Test--Calculator portion, all scientific calculators are permitted. A four-function calculator is acceptable but not recommended.

 

The following graphing calculators are permitted:"

 

(listing)

 

The TI-30 is fine :) I don't know if dd will take that or the TI-84 she's been using for calculus.

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Good luck to everyone taking the test tomorrow.  I was surprised that dd's high school will start the test at 9.  But, it falls on a late-start day on the calendar so the buses will not get the students to school any earlier.  Since dd is only a sophomore, this is just practice for her.  She did the official practice test and did very well on the Reading and Written Language portions, but not too well on the Math sections, which is no surprise to us.  Her math scores have shown her what she needed to see ... she is not dumb at math (judging by the number of hard problems she got right) but she lacks speed.  Things just don't come to her automatically and she has to think to figure things out.   I think this is getting the message across that she just needs to put more consistent effort into math practice and review.  I don't think she will qualify for National Merit, but I wanted her to have practice taking long tests.  She lacks stamina.

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