Did You Think There Was a Timing Issue on the PSAT? Check Your Scores

The timing of the PSAT became a source of problems this year as the time initially allotted for the test turned out not to be sufficient, said students. As a result, many students said they found that breaks, as well as actual test sections were cut short. With test scores coming back last week, students reflected on how the changes affected their scores.

The new version of the PSAT, which changed this year to coincide with the new version of the SAT, included new sections, such as an extra math section without a calculator. These modifications changed the time that was needed for the test, said Principal Bjorn Paige.

This change in testing times worried some students since less testing time meant less time working on problems that could result in higher scores. Due to this, some students expressed concern about how accurate their scores would be.

“In the last section they promised us 45 to 50 minutes for that last section of math, but we only ended up receiving 15 or 20,” said sophomore Dace Sandison. “I felt like it definitely affected my final score because I did considerably worse on the math, when in past standardized tests the math had always been my strong suit.”

While the PSAT is only a practice for the real SAT, the test can count towards a chance at the National Merit Scholarship. The National Merit Scholarship awards finalists with scholarship money in various forms. With less time for testing, some worried about how it would affect their chances at participating in the scholarship program.

“During the PSAT we had 40 minutes taken off. It’s just practice so I don’t care that much but I feel bad for the juniors who were trying for scholarships,” said sophomore Autumn Klienrath.

While the testing environment for this first testing was not perfect, it provided an opportunity for improvements next year. Timing complications can be accounted for next time the PSAT is administered, said Paige.

“It was a good opportunity for us as an administrative team to sit down and say where did things go wrong and how can we make things go better,” said Paige. “It really will be a lot about time, a lot about preparation, and a lot about communication so that we aren’t trying to adjust on the fly. We did that, we weren’t the only high school that needed to, but we will be better prepared as we go into next year.”