PSAT should have SAT down

John Martin, Staff Writer

Disagreement arises regarding the legitimacy of the test.

Each year, millions of students take College Board’s standardized PSAT/NMSQT test, and each year, hours of time that students and teachers could use for instruction is wasted.

While the scholarship opportunities for those with high scores are useful, they affect such a small amount of students that it doesn’t make sense to allocate an entire school day for the test. Instead of using valuable instructional time for the test administration, the PSAT should be treated like the SAT and students should take it on their own time, with their own money.

“Forcing everybody to take it just wastes everybody’s time and the school’s money,” junior Alvin Cao said.

While juniors have to pay in order to view their scores, FCPS covers the cost for sophomores and freshman score reports. The $17 per student fee could be better spent on more useful purchases. For example, it could go toward programs that would help disadvantaged students or even toward raising teacher salaries.

“No colleges actually look at the PSAT scores [when] deciding whether you make it in or not,” Cao said. “I don’t think it’s actually that important.”

In addition, there is doubt that the test actually prepares one for the more important SAT.

“The PSAT is so much easier than the SAT,” Cao said. “I took [the PSAT] last year and I still got a pretty good score without even trying. It doesn’t reflect the difficulty [of the SAT].”

However, some believe that there are tangible benefits for students to take the PSAT.

“There are lots of reasons to [take it],” Principal Teresa Johnson said. “[Students] have a better understanding of what to expect [for the SAT, as they understand the stamina necessary] for the length of time it takes.”

The PSAT isn’t important as a stand-alone test, and students should have a choice in whether or not they take it. However, it is valuable because it is preparation for the SAT, a test that does matter.