On the morning of Saturday, October 16, the PSAT was held in the Student Health and Athletic Center (SHAC). Over 200 sleepy sophomores and juniors made their way to the gym by 7:45 a.m. Though quiet at first, the drowsy atmosphere was quickly broken by a few minutes of lively conversation before students took their seats by 8:15 a.m.

The test consists of four sections: Reading, Writing & Language, Math (no calculator), and Math (calculator allowed). Students were given 60, 35, 25, and 45 minutes respectively to complete the sections. Five-minute breaks followed the completion of the Reading and Writing & Language sections. During these brief intervals, students hastily rushed out of the gym to use what little time they had to use the restroom, have a snack, or converse with one another.

Once the test concluded at noon and answer sheets were collected, students eagerly left the gym to get on with their weekends. Many swarmed the quad to play sports, some lingered in the SHAC, and some simply went home. Nevertheless, the campus was full of vibrant energy that had been repressed during the past four hours.

After taking the PSAT, several students expressed their disapproval of CA’s mandatory requirement of PSAT testing. Morris Zhang ’24 explained that “People have to wake up early to get to the testing site.” He added that “It makes Friday night not as relaxing and makes Saturday really taxing and hard on some people.” Although the PSAT makes good practice for the SAT, he also thinks that there are better practicing alternatives. “Students can choose to practice for the SAT or take a test that’s not official on their own time when they are free,” he remarked.

Although PSAT testing has its benefits, such as allowing students to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship and practicing for the SAT, it offered no pleasant start to the weekend for students who simply wanted to relax. What do you think? Should the PSAT be optional at CA?