Should students be required to take the PSATs?

Grace Straka, Staff Writer

At HBHS, and high schools everywhere, the SATs have become a source of anxiety for most students. Along with SATs , though, comes the option for a practice test during October of a student’s sophomore and junior years.

There is no requirement for students to take the PSATs, as opposed to other standardized tests. The NECAP test, for example, is an across the board requirement for all younger students, which a parent must sign off on to opt out of. Although the PSATs are only practice, they should be expected of all students, as they are extremely beneficial to the SAT scores of those who take them. They give students an opportunity to test the waters, along with helping them learn what specific areas they may need to improve on before the real test.

Another positive aspect of the practice test is being offered a chance to obtain merit scholarships. After the results are recorded from high schools around the country, 50,000 finalists are selected (out of the roughly 3.5 million students who take the test),  and 8,000 students will be chosen to receive scholarships. Although the number of scholarships given is not extremely high, there is no harm in being part of a pool of applicants who can gain monetary rewards and high praise from colleges everywhere. “One of the main reasons I chose to take them [the PSATs] was to put myself out there to colleges and scholarship-givers,” said Lily Coady ‘20.                                            

Many who have taken the SATs also believe them to be a predictor of real scores. Kate Emerson, science teacher at HBHS, said,Yes, I did take them, and I believe they did help me on the SATs. They gave me a good baseline for necessary preparation.” It is beneficial for students to have a starting point to predict how they may end up doing on the SATs.                                                                                 

Although many students are against taking another standardized test, for reasons like added stress and pressure to do well, it is important to remind them that getting accustomed to stressful situations can help them adjust in time for not only the SATs, but tests throughout their lives.

At HB, there is a waiting list put in place to minimize the number of students able to take the PSATs. “It was really frantic trying to get myself on the list,” said Tasha White ‘20. Given the benefits of taking the practice text, this blockade should be eradicated, and consequently make taking the PSAT’s a norm for all students.

Giving students the ability to take the PSATs is incredibly advantageous, and should be required for all students during their preparation for success on the SATs.