Should Juniors have to take the PSAT?

Jennifer Bynn, Contributing Writer

During their junior year, high school students are eligible to participate in the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, better known as the Preliminary SAT, or PSAT.

Some people believe that the PSAT should be mandatory for juniors in order to provide the opportunities for scholarships.

They argue that the PSATs would force many students to begin studying for their SATs earlier, and therefore improve their performance.They also aruge that this would give juniors who have yet to begin studying for the SATs to determine which areas they excel in and which areas they have to work on.  This way, they will be better prepared for the actual SAT and possibly maximize their scores.

However, it is simply not necessary for juniors to be required to take the PSAT.  It is a complete and utter waste of limited time for juniors to be required to take the PSATs. Throughtout the beginning of junior year, students are struggling to balance new and demanding coursework along with extracurricular activities. Students need to have the time to focus on getting a solid start to the new school year.

One of the main reasons many students feel discouraged to take the test is the lack of confidence in their academic abilities.

During their third year in high school, most juniors feel like they have, at the very least, an understanding of their academic potential. They have an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, and understand where  to put in extra effort.

“If students know they aren’t smart enough to get National Merit, they shouldn’t be forced to take it.  It’ll be a waste of time for them,” said senior Anne Kim.

Students should not be required to take the PSAT, because it takes away from the time that they have to focus on their academic course load. Junior year is one of the most important academically, and students need to focus on their core academics.

Junior year is already stressful enough.  If students feel that they can use their time more efficiently, they should be allowed.

Forcing students to take the PSAT also takes away the student’s sense of personal responsibilities.

“It’s the student’s responsibility to study for the standardized exams.  It shouldn’t be made mandatory,” said junior Emmanuel Beys.

Applying to college is incredibly expensive.  Students are already spending hundreds of dollars to take official standardized tests and should not have to spend more money on a test that does not necessarily help with exam preparation.

“Students don’t need to take it; it’s a waste of money.  There are so many resources available online that are free and are just as helpful in preparing for the SATs,” said junior Christine Novotny.

The school may encourage students to register for the PSATs; however, it is not beneficial to force every single student to take an exam they may or may not wish to take for a variety of reasons.