The PSAT was different this year. Here’s why.


Photo by Olivia Elliott


I think the PSAT itself went well, but the delivery left something to be desired.

The information on when and where the PSAT would take place was delivered in bits and pieces, which made me kind of stressed. I was worried I wouldn’t get all the information on time and not be able to take the test. I think that to revise this situation, the faculty members should look into getting all the information first and then sending it out.

Also, the start time of the test could have been reworked. Scientific studies have shown that when school starts later in the morning, students do better in school. However, myself and the other PSAT takers had to show up at the school at 7:30 a.m., putting us at the wake-up time of 6 a.m.

I was additionally confused by the long wait time outside. I think it would have made better sense to, after signing in and getting checked, going directly inside the building and waiting on our piece of tape outside our testing locations. What ended up actually happening was about 10 minutes of shivering outside in 46 degree weather prior to this development.

The list that was sent out was the one the college board had provided. It listed what we should and shouldn’t bring. On the should list, there was a calculator, two number two pencils with erasers, and valid government or school I.D., if you were not taking the test at your school or were homeschooled.

On the do not bring list, there was food and water. You could bring a phone as long as it was kept under the desk. However, once I got to the school, it was revealed to us that we actually could have brought snacks and water, leaving me unfocused and hungry the entire test. I also was not permitted to have my phone under the desk, and instead at the front of the room, where it could risk contamination. I believe that the lists should have been double checked so that the proctors were aware of what students really could or could not bring to the testing location.

Lastly, I think they could have been more efficient getting everyone started, as we ended about a half hour after expected. I understand that it can be hard to gauge these kinds of events, but I feel that that lost half hour was a waste of both our time and our parents’ time when we could have been catching the tail end of our second missed class or doing our jobs.

I was kind of frustrated with how it all turned out, but I realize that COVID – 19 has caused frustration for the faculty who provided us with the test. It’s got to be hard temperature checking a few hundred students, getting them where they need to be, and giving us the test on top of that.