The Stresses of the PSAT BY: Alexander Blandon

Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors at Dunellen High School took the PSATs on October 19th. Many felt ready and many did not. There were mixed reactions among students; though it was a ¨tough¨ test for some, others felt differently.

Some students described the PSAT as a challenging exam. This stems from under preparation, which the sophomores mostly felt because they were not provided with the necessary supplies to study efficiently-such as the packets that contained practice tests that the juniors were provided with. A sophomore was asked what he did to prepare for this large scale test. “Almost nothing because we were never given anything to study off of.” When a junior was asked the same question, he said “I am using the packet as best as possible to see what the test is like.” It appears that the lack of the material caused stress for sophomores who took the test, which put those students at a disadvantage.

Stress is an enormous factor which affects the mindset of students when approaching big tests such as the PSAT. As one student said “The PSAT is a type of test that I am not accustomed to. Though I have taken state tests, this test feels, in my opinion, bigger and more stressful than the others.” When asked about their stress levels during the test and how it will affect them, one student responded, “most definitely, it did. I have never felt that many emotions in one sitting. It was more of an emotional experience than an academic one.” This then brought on the question of, due to the stress and exhaustion exerted on students, should the tests be mandatory? All the responses, though negative, did provide some insight. “As students, we should be evaluated on our entire high school record than on one overly stressful test that gives us one number that colleges identify our worth by,” stated a sophomore.

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