What’s the Purpose of the PSAT’s?

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What’s the Purpose of the PSAT’s?

Ian Darville, Student Journalist

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“Open your test booklets and you may begin.” We have all heard this phrase when starting a standardized test whether it was a benchmark or the PARCC. But for West Orange High School (WOHS) sophomores and juniors October 10th held special significance since it was the day they could take the PSAT, a practice version of the SAT.

When interviewing sophomore Matt Pacheco he stated that he found the PSAT “pointless” and that many of the students in his grade skipped taking the test. Pacheco took the test but “filled it out quickly.” When asked if it was pointless for the school to give a PSAT Pacheco responded by stating, he does not think it’s pointless but students just do not care enough to do it.

As the subject of preference for the PSAT or SAT came up Pacheco stated that he would rather have a yearlong SAT prep course instead of just taking a yearly PSAT sophomore and junior year.

After my interview with Matt Pacheco, I talked to Ms. Kehoe and Mr. Pallante, both guidance counselors in charge of PSAT at the high school. When asked about the benefits of the PSAT, Ms. Kehoe responded saying that “It’s good practice for students to learn how to sit for a long test for a serious reason especially if they plan to go to college.”

When asked about other things students can do besides take the PSAT, Khan academy was brought up and how it helps students further develop in the areas they need help in to get excellent scores on the actual SAT. As I asked if the school ever gave the test on a Saturday, Mr. Pallante explained that students had to pay to take it and there were barely any teachers to supervise students which is why the test is given during the week.

My final question was why freshman do not have to take the PSAT and the response was that “It’s something that could potentially happen in the future”.  The reason as to why freshman are not taking the exam now is because the West Orange Board of Education decides who takes the exam.

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