We feel your pain, flyergirl13. Once, long ago, we too had to suffer through the PSATs. OH, THE HUMANITY.—Sparkitors
Eight (8) number 2 Pencils: Check.
One (1) Pink Pearl Eraser, with holes drilled in it by pencil tips when I'm bored in class: Check.
One (1) Calculator that is probably smarter than I am: Check.
One (1) Admission Ticket, a little slip of paper that cost $20: Check.
My future, my self-worth, and my entire Saturday, to be left at the door: Double check.
The above constitutes my packing list for PSATs, which I took this weekend. In a small, silent classroom, I found out what many of you already know: the test is SUPER FUN. Ha. Nope. Actually, it’s a particularly arduous form of torture that requires you to wake up at 6:30 AM on a Saturday and spend hours coloring in small, cruel circles. For your viewing (and vocabulary-studying) pleasure, I've compiled a tabulation of the reasons I hate the PSAT. Enjoy.
Meddlesome Lattices (aka Nosy Grids): You know those grids where you have to fill in bubbles to spell out your name, address, etc? Well, this test had two full pages of nothing but grids and bubbles. I told the PSAT gods my name, religion, race, GPA, street address, email address, IP address, social security number, and credit card number (well, not those last 3, but you get my gist). Do you think I should have included my Facebook password as well? Or maybe my mother's aunt's husband's cousin's date of birth? The PSATs popped my personal-space bubble, and after a few minutes of carefully shading small circles, I was going cross-eyed—before the actual test even started.
My Gluteus Maximus is Wounded (aka My Butt Hurts): We were sitting for three hours straight. And before you all snort with derision and tell me that you've sat for far longer without complaint, listen to this: I couldn't find my lucky sweatpants, so I was forced to wear jeans. Yep. And there was a button pushing into my butt the whole time. It was painful. And traumatic. It probably affected my test scores. I may never get over it.
Ovoid Enclosures (aka Bubble Sheets): Okay, here it goes: bubble sheets stress me out. Phew. Felt good to get that out there. But it's true: those bubbles have so many rules! The demanding instructions for proper shading, the stringent specifications for pencil type, the strict consequences for accidentally making a stray mark on the form—all of it is enough to push you over the edge. I get panicky just thinking about it.
And, Of Course, The Actual Test Content: There are five timed sections testing your knowledge of math, English, reading, and grammar skills; in other words, there are five opportunities for you to smack your head against your desk and moan, "WHYYYYY??" And then, when it's all over, your proctor will tell you that "you may not discuss the contents of this test with anyone via any method of communication." At first, I felt awesome, like a top-secret spy or a government agent entrusted with a confidential assignment. Then I realized that I couldn't discuss all the questions with my friends, and I went from feeling like a spy to feeling totally ripped off. A depressing end to a depressing day. Hurrah.
Do you laud or anathematize the PSATs?
Related post: Get more info on standardized tests and prep for the SAT here!