PSAT trials end with DOE

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Junior year is often labeled as the most difficult year of high school, with the SAT, ACT, and countless other stress-inducing acronyms. Every year in October, a day is designated for all sophomores and juniors as PSAT day. For the past two years, this test has been free to all students taking it. However, starting next year, students will be paying for the exam. The idea is that juniors will pay a small fee for the PSAT in October, which would also allow them to be able to take a free practice SAT in the spring semester.

The DOE decided this would be the best for schools “in which 80% or more of their juniors took the SAT in 2014-15.” It also presented two options to choose from, the first being that sophomores and juniors to take the PSAT in October 19, 2016 and then only the juniors take the practice SAT on April 5, 2017. Meanwhile, the second option was for the sophomores to take the PSAT between March 27 to April 7, 2017 and the juniors to take the practice SAT on April 5, 2017. Mr. Barbetta and the other administration at Townsend Harris High School decided to choose the first option.

Many rising juniors were very pleased with the school’s decision to allow the juniors to take the PSAT and the practice SAT. Sophomore Veronica Dolega said, “I think this is a great idea. If we take the PSAT in the fall, we will kind of know what topics will be on the SAT in the spring. This way we can prepare ourselves, both mentally and studiously.”

Sophomore Alicia Balchand had a similar response, stating, “I like the idea of take both the PSAT and the practice SAT. Everyone wants to get a good score on the SAT they take. If they have double the practice by taking both the PSAT in October and then the SAT in April, then they will do better.”

Meanwhile, junior Shirley Mai remarked, “My only complain is that the practice SAT will be too late. In my opinion, it should be given in March, to ensure enough time for preparation.”

Another concern is the cost of the October PSAT. Even though the DOE will not be providing funds for the PSAT, it will still be of a very small cost for the students. Current seniors, who did have to pay for their PSAT exam, only paid about $16-$20. In addition, fee waivers will be offered to students who are eligible.