The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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New digital PSAT format offers simplicity despite delays

On+Oct.+11%2C+juniors+and+sophomores+took+the+PSAT%2FNMSQT+in+a+new+digital+format%2C+which+utilized+Chromebooks+and+an+app+called+Bluebook.
Ryan Burke-Stevenson
On Oct. 11, juniors and sophomores took the PSAT/NMSQT in a new digital format, which utilized Chromebooks and an app called Bluebook.

Students file into their assigned classrooms and pick up a Chromebook from the stack. They scan the room searching for their seats in the sea of desks facing the whiteboard. They sit down, pull in their chairs, and open their computers, settling in for the nearly three-hour testing period. 

When juniors and sophomores took the PSAT/NMSQT on Oct. 11, the test was different from years past: this year the test was taken on Chromebooks instead of on paper. Some students like the simplicity that the digital format provided, while others felt it took too long to set up.

The SAT will also be digital beginning in March 2024. Both digital PSAT and SAT are shorter than the traditional paper tests.

Each student was given a Chromebook with an app called Bluebook installed to take the test, and were given three sheets of scratch paper.

Sophomore Lia Teklu thought the new PSAT format was successful.

“It was straight forward, it was simple, it worked,” Lia said. 

Junior Maxine Hurst explained that she liked that the digital format had a graphing calculator integrated into it, ensuring every student had the same resources. 

“On the program that we took the PSAT, there was a little calculator button, and that button was for Desmos the graphing calculator,” Maxine said. 

While junior Ava Cohen disliked how hard it was to annotate passages in the reading section with the online tools, she thought the digital format was helpful because it was easier to fill out the personal information section.

“One benefit of using the digital format was that it was much simpler to fill out my personal information because I was able to type normally as opposed to filling in a bunch of bubbles that represented letters or numbers,” she said.

Sophomore James Hubbard thought the new system took too long to get started.

“Our proctor showed up a solid 20 minutes late, and setup and attendance took another 40, which is really slow,” he said.

Maxine also explained that unlike previous years students took the PSAT in small groups in classrooms instead of the gym.

Students were also able to take unscheduled breaks during the test.

Lia said, “If you were done, or even if you weren’t, if you just wanted to use the bathroom or get water you could just go.”

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About the Contributors
Haley Maharry
Haley Maharry, Reporter
Haley Maharry is a member of the Class of 2024, and serves as a reporter. Her favorite piece she has done is an audio story called “Fencing team members find new opportunity in fencing P.E. elective.” Outside of journalism, Haley listens to horror podcasts and acts in U-High's theater.
Ryan Burke-Stevenson
Ryan Burke-Stevenson, Photographer
Ryan Burke-Stevenson is a photojournalist and a member of the Class of 2025. His favorite part of photojournalism is being able to give a visual aspect to stories. Outside of photojournalism, Ryan is interested in cooking and cycling. Awards: 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, non-sports photo: superior 2023 Association of Texas Photography Instructors Fall Contest, advertising, first honorable mention

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