County Requires Freshmen to Take PSAT


Freshmen took the 8-9 PSAT on October 19, along with sophomores and juniors taking the regular PSAT. The 8-9 PSAT focused on eighth and ninth grade subjects, while sophomores and juniors took the traditional PSAT.

According to Mr. LeMon, the 8-9 PSAT is an opportunity from the county to expose ninth grade students to the test in order to prepare them for the PSAT and SAT. “It is another opportunity for them to become familiar with the test and the testing process,” said Mr. LeMon.

Many students and staff members believe that the only way to prepare for the PSAT and SAT is to be exposed to the test more. Charles Blasini, senior, would encourage freshmen to take the test seriously. “The more freshmen take the PSAT, the more practice they’ll get,” said senior Blasini.

Anaya Chend, freshman, values the opportunity to practice. “We’ll be taking it every year, so it’ll be less nerve racking when it actually counts,” said Chend.

Because this was the first time the test was given, freshmen received little preparation for the exam, says Ms. Tarr, who teaches algebra. “We didn’t know how far the questions would go, so it hindered us in preparing the students,” said Ms. Tarr. “At least next year we’ll be a little more prepared.”

While there were few complaints among students and staff, some teachers saw problems with test proctoring. “The directions were not exactly clear,” said Mr. Townsend, eleventh grade English teacher and PSAT proctor. ” My group had to wait  40 minutes between the end of the test and lunch. I hope that they can make adjustments next year to prevent that problem.”

For freshman Gigi Porter, the the problem was not so much content as it was time. According to Porter, teachers should help students learn how to manage time. “I didn’t finish any section because I didn’t have enough time,” said Porter.

Overall, students felt it wasn’t as stressful as they thought it would be, in spite of its length.

Mr. LeMon, in general, was happy with the process. “This is a new opportunity for Howard County.” “We’re lucky to be able to offer it.”