Sleep on It

Vivian Sun'18, Opinions Section Editor

Peddie sophomores and juniors took the PSAT October 19, and it’s safe to say a good deal of us were asleep for a decent chunk of the testing.

        The PSAT is otherwise known as the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Although colleges don’t look at the scores, high school juniors who score exceptionally high can qualify for a national ranking or even a scholarship of $2500. Peddie mandates that all sophomores and juniors must take this test.

        What I take issue with is not the idea that Peddie wants us all to do well on standardized testing, but rather the requirement that all sophomores and juniors have to take the test. Although the test is for practice, I saw many students sleeping on the wooden tables in the Von athletic center after they finished a section. And in all honesty, I don’t blame them; I would do the same.

        The ranking and scholarships are only available to American citizens or permanent US residents intending to become citizens, so most international students don’t qualify for the scholarship or the ranking; the test only serves as practice. Looking at the PSAT from their viewpoint, I wouldn’t want to take it – especially if I were planning on taking the ACT or was satisfied with a previous standardized test score.

Speaking for myself, I’ve already taken the ACT and don’t plan to test anymore; if there wasn’t a ranking aspect of the PSAT, I wouldn’t want to take it. The only reason I wasn’t fast asleep after finishing a section was because I hoped to rank as a Semi-Finalist or Finalist for National Merit. As a junior, that October testing date was my only chance, and, to quote Hamilton, I wasn’t going to throw away my shot.

       I enjoyed having the rest of my Wednesday off after the PSAT, but I wish that Peddie would make the test optional. While it should be very highly recommended, I don’t think it should be required. Students could tell their advisors or the college counseling office if they didn’t want to test, and all others who weren’t taking the PSAT could have the day off, as is the case now for freshmen and seniors. If a person doesn’t want SAT practice or a chance for a scholarship and would rather not take the test, the PSAT day off would be good to catch up on work or sleep, at the very least.