Students Take PSATs At Harriton During Pandemic

Graphic+Design+by+Carmen+Miskel

Carmen Miskel

Graphic Design by Carmen Miskel

Liron Brunner, Staff Writer

On January 26, Harriton held the PSAT for sophomore and junior students. The PSAT is a standardized test and a practice version of the SAT, the aptitude test for college admissions. The 2 hour and 15-minute exam is administered once a year.

Lower Merion School District implemented procedures to assure the safety of students. Protocol included proper masking and social distancing. 

Several students felt as though wearing masks had no impact on their ability to concentrate during the test.

Sophomore Rachel Wang commented, “I got used to wearing a mask while doing many things over the previous months. It didn’t phase me.”

In terms of social distancing, each student took their test in their assigned advisory. Although some advisories have more students than others, the administration made every effort to balance the rooms equally.

Eden Brunner, a Junior, said that “They did pretty well, but the PSAT is a highly attended test.” 

Many students revealed that they were nervous for a variety of reasons, including the new safety protocols and the test itself. The stress of following COVID guidelines while being at school during a pandemic coupled with test-taking was challenging for students. The chairs were spaced out, everyone had to wear masks, when there were breaks you were not allowed to eat, and there was a limited number of students per room. 

Brunner said, “It was more stressful because in addition to the stress from the exam, there was also a chance that you could get a deadly virus. The multi-stress environment made it worse.”

Still, most students reported a positive experience and did not feel hindered by COVID guidelines. A minor issue arose when students were directed to the cafeteria upon departure. The cafeteria and hallways became crowded for a short time. Some had not attended school since March 2020 and were overwhelmed returning, but most said they felt safe and comfortable.  

Despite the pandemic, the students interviewed found the silver lining in taking the PSAT. Many of the Harriton sophomores and juniors found the layout of the rooms and smaller class sizes to be more conducive to test-taking. In the end, Harriton Students always acclimate and accept change.