PSAT Testing

Alexis Rivera

On Tuesday, October 11th, every junior in Kearny High School reported to the gym instead of their regular classes.  While they entered the school at 8:20, every other student could stay home until 9:40.  What had the juniors done to deserve this?  What was going to happen to them in the gym?

The desks and chairs in the gym revealed the truth: it was time for the PSAT. The PSAT is a test with four sections and is meant to measure a student’s ability to read and comprehend, along with their grammatical skills regarding word choice.  The second half of the test focuses on mathematical knowledge, both with and without a calculator.  Each section is timed in sections ranging from 25 to 60 minutes, adding up to two hours and 45 minutes.  The test is filled out by coloring bubbles on a Scantron sheet. Contrary to the rumors, those who took the test in the gym were not able to test on the Chromebooks, or on any technology.

As for the seating, there were over 130 tables, each one with two seats and four #2 pencils.  Calculators were also given to any students who needed them.  Under a colored piece of paper, the answer sheets of the two students assigned to that table were held together by a paper clip.  When the test began, every student had to sign a contract to not share any details of the test itself, such as questions and answers.  The section would then begin and students would test until a test provider told them their time was up. The PSAT, thankfully, is paid for by the school district.

Once the testing was complete, the testing materials were collected individually from each table and sent away to be scored.  For the students, the test ended in the middle of 4th period, which allowed them to be excused. As a surprise gift, testers were also given a free 5th period, leaving time for those who missed 4th period lunch or giving more time to those who still had lunch ahead of them.  While 6th period was not excused, students who had lunch 6th period only had to attend 7th and 8th period.

Some of the benefits of the PSAT include having  a detailed report on the areas that you might need to focus to improve SAT scores.