PSAT changes to be optional

Students used to take the PSAT in the fall at the start of the school year. The PSAT has been mandatory to take, but this was the first year that the PSAT was made optional for all juniors, giving the students a choice if they would want to take advantage of the free practice available.
“Sometimes students test too much and get burnt out,” said Dr. Jeff Schagrin, associate principal of curriculum and instruction.
The PSAT also has scholarship opportunities available for students, and high scores are not necessarily needed to get the award. Multiple students at North have been awarded scholarships in the past through the program.
“Student choice was very important to us this year, and we actually had 97 percent of juniors attend and take the PSAT,” Schagrin said.
The PSAT is not enjoyable for most students because testing starts early in the morning and goes well into the day, with many difficult questions.
“It’s simply a practice test, which is really important for students to take advantage of,” said junior Christian Watschke. “It sucks while we’re in the room testing, but I think we’ll appreciate it later on for the actual SAT. Students should see how important it is for their future.”
If juniors are looking for extra practice to prepare themselves for the SAT in April, there is an after school practice program designed at North to help students improve their scores and get comfortable in a testing environment.
“More testing in a testing environment is best for students. Throughout the course, students show great improvement from their earlier scores,” said math department chair Kim Johnson, who is also head of the practice SAT course.
Registration for the course is sent through student emails in the first half of November, with the price coming to $120 in total. The after school program runs from February 5 to April 9 with after school classes starting at 3:30 p.m. and night classes starting at 6:00 p.m. The other two days that other PSATs are offered are the Saturdays of March 14 and April 4 from 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.