College Board implements PSAT changes this year


51 Harker students were 2015-2016 National Merit Semifinalists. Sophomores and juniors took the new PSAT on Oct. 14.

Sophomores and juniors took a redesigned version of the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) last Wednesday.

Changes for the test included an increase in length, the combination of the reading and writing sections, more questions, a new scoring system and subscore reporting. The new test has an increased time of two hours and 45 minutes, with more questions in every section except for reading comprehension. The new scoring system is on a 320-1520 scale rather than the old 60-240 scale.

Some juniors did not appreciate the change, as they did not receive the chance to practice taking the new test last year.

“Why didn’t they just correspond the new PSAT with the new SAT at the same time?” Chris Hailey (11) said. “If they could have done that, then I wouldn’t have to study for both of them, as it puts so much more burden on me.”

The seniors were the last class to take the old version of the PSAT. Senior Joshua Hung voiced his opinion on the new elements.

“Last year, the PSAT was sort of like a precursor for the SAT so I could do well on it; the PSAT was similar to that, and that made it a little bit easier,” Joshua said. “I feel like this year, the PSAT will be a little bit more difficult with the longer test and more questions, but at the same time I think that people will get used to it and it might also be easier for some people given that there is no guessing penalty.”

The College Board will release scores for the PSAT in mid-December. Semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship will be released next September.

This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on October 16, 2015.