The colors of the leaves are not the only things changing this fall; there will also be new changes to the PSAT. On Oct. 14, students across the country will be taking the new PSAT. The test is redesigned to mimic the new SAT, which is set to drop in March 2016.
Students will brace themselves for a completely altered format and a longer test time. The overall test will now take 2 hours and 45 minutes compared to last year’s time of 2 hours and 10 minutes. As for the overall format of the test, this version includes more evidence based on reading and writing, as well as language components in the writing section. This new style of testing will replace the structure of the typical reading, writing and math sections. These different portions are a part of College Board’s new plan to put a greater emphasis on knowledge, skills and understandings. The Board’s goal is to provide better evidence on how prepared students are for college. Therefore, the overall focus of the test is on what a student learns in high school and what they need in order to succeed in college.
This change in the PSAT also comes with a new grading system. The PSAT used to be scored out of 2400; students would receive scores such as 180 that would be converted into 1800. However, the test scores now will range from 320-1600.
“They help you and your teaching pinpoint areas for improvement,” College Board stated about the new scoring system.
Not all students are fully aware of the changes that they will be experiencing. “I knew it changed, but I don’t know the changes,” said junior Sam Bishop.
The PSAT not only affects students, but also impacts teachers and their lesson plans. SAT Prep teachers, English teacher Ms. Shannon Milam and Math teacher Ms. Leigh Miles, are among those who are affected.
“Preference is not a factor; preparation is,” Ms. Milam said when asked if she preferred the new test over the old one.
Both teachers believe preparation and understanding is critical when taking the new PSAT.
“We just need to adjust to the new test,” Ms. Miles simply said.
Most importantly, both teachers stress that students need to practice and be clear on what is going to be asked of them.
In the face of this new PSAT, students and staff will eventually have to adjust and accept the changes. The test was made with the potential to better measure a student’s capability and what he or she needs to work on to improve and succeed in the future.