27 AV students qualify for national merit semifinals


Twenty-seven AV semifinalists all have their own strategies and tips on how to ace your tests!

Elyssa Lieu, Page Editor

The results for the National Merit Scholarship competition are out, with 27 award winners from Amador Valley High.

A lone one percent of high school juniors make this achievement each year. These students join the ranks of 1,926 other semifinalists from California, placing them among the highest-scoring entrants in all of California.

Despite their incredible results, semifinalists all say their preparation was actually pretty simple.

“Since I took the SAT, my PSAT preparation was basically just SAT prep,” said Madeline Day (‘21).

(Top left to right: Suhas Nagar, Nina Moothedath, Chandrika Narayan / Bottom left to right:Yash Deshmukh, Kaitlyn Peng) (Amador 2020 Yearbook Committee, Daniel Yuan, Nina Moothedath, Yash Deshmukh)

When it comes to this year’s juniors, there is some standard advice that the students have.

“My advice would be to sleep early, get ready and reach early, and have extra stationery in case you need it. You don’t want to stress over things you don’t need to stress over. When it comes to the test, the English section is weighted twice as much as math so make sure you practice some English questions before the test,” said Yash Deshmukh (‘21).

“For this year’s test-takers, make sure to take a couple of practice tests and get used to the format. If you take enough practice tests, you’ll definitely start to see the patterns/formulas they use to make the tests,” said Chloe Fields (‘21).

Over 90% of the PSAT/NMSQT national semifinalists will go on to become finalists, which will make them eligible to both receive scholarships and be selected as a Merit Scholar. The group of finalists will be announced in April after candidates submit an application.

Regarding the test itself, the students had mixed emotions.

(Top left to right: Amy Wang, Cassandra Ying, Matthew Day / Bottom left to right: Chloe Jeon, Emily Lim, Jeffrey Huang) ( Amador 2020 Yearbook Committee, Amy Wang, and Emily Lim)

“The math section was easier than expected but I thought the reading section was a bit harder. I was pretty nervous taking the test,” said Nicole Ju (‘21).

No matter what, the semifinalists are sure to succeed, with or without their achievement.

“I was just relieved that I had a shot at getting half-off tuition at USC[University of Southern California] if I happen to even get accepted. I don’t think the achievement is important because the SAT is a flawed standardized test to begin with, but if you make it as a finalist, it can be very useful in getting scholarships to colleges, as tuition is unreasonably expensive in America,” said Emily Lim (‘21).

“Honestly, I don’t really care about being a semifinalist. I think this will benefit my college apps, but since many schools focus on holistic admissions, test scores like the PSAT won’t really be that much of a benefit,” said Matthew Day (‘21).

(Top left to right: Jonathan Cheng, Esha Goru, Kailey Wong / Bottom left to right:Nicole Ju, Neil Allavarpu, Daniel Yuan) ( Amador 2020 Yearbook Committee, Nicole Ju, Daniel Yuan, Kailey Wong )
(Top left to right: Rebecca Stumbo, Wesley Sien, Eric Song / Bottom left to right: Chloe Fields, Xiuyuan Qiu)
Photos courtesy of the Amador 2020 Yearbook Committee, Eric Song, Chloe Fields
(Top left to right: Elliot Kang, Alan Tao, Sujana Sridhar / Bottom left to right: Esther Zhou, Madeline Day)
Photos courtesy of the Amador 2020 Yearbook Committee, Elliot Kang, Madeline Day