PSATs should be optional


As April starts to wrap up and time is ticking away until summer break, the amount of schoolwork, stress, and tests increases. Among those tests is the dreaded PSAT. On April 14th, all freshmen and sophomores were required to take the PSAT, just a day after the Juniors took their SAT. The PSAT is a standardized test that helps kids prepare for the actual SAT. Although, with everything else students have going on, it’s a nuisance to come in and take a practice test for an exam you might not even be submitting to a college. Instead, I think the PSAT should just be an optional test which students can take if they’d like to.

While some argue that the PSAT helps prep students for the actual test come Junior year, a lot of kids aren’t planning on their SAT score being a useful tool for their future. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of schools have withdrawn the SAT/ACT score submission from the requirements. Not to mention, most trade schools do not require an SAT or ACT score either. This means that students are sitting through a 3-hour long test to prepare them for another test, that might not be useful for them in the first place. Students shouldn’t have to practice for something that won’t actually have any impact on their future. 

Instead, I think that all students should have the opportunity but have it as an option because not everyone’s post-high school plans look the same. If a student feels like the PSAT would be useful for them to take, they should take it. If a student knows that they won’t use their SAT score and they don’t want to take the test, why waste their time?

The PSAT test also causes a lot of extra anxiety, right at the end of the year, when a lot of other stressors arise. While finals are just around the corner, each school day is counted until the exams. Most teachers during this time hand out tests and quizzes like candy on Halloween. his adds a lot of extra studying, memorizing, and extra homework. The PSAT test feels like the last thing kids need to worry about. It can be extra stressful for those who don’t like standardized or timed tests and while some might say that the PSAT would then help them for the SAT, the student is still having to deal with more anxiety than needed. 

If the test was optional, that student could instead opt out that year and could use other resources to practice for the SAT at a different time. The overall stress and negative feelings the PSAT brings could be eliminated. Only students who want to take the test should be required to take it. 

I think the PSAT does nothing but hurt mental health. Why should students be forced to take a test that does not affect their future or grade at all? 

If the freshman and sophomores were able to choose whether or not they wished to take the PSAT, they would be able to control their anxiety levels; including the test. We could all properly plan for our future in a way that is effective for us.