Google The Unplanned Homeschooler: What to take with you to the PSAT

Monday, July 16, 2018

What to take with you to the PSAT

Is your child taking the PSAT this year? You'd better double check the list of required items, so they will be prepared. Here's what to take with you on testing day.



The proper photo ID


Last year, as my twins were getting ready to take their practice run at the PSAT, I suddenly realized they did not have the proper ID as required by the College Board. Since they were taking the test early, ahead of their junior year, neither of them had a driver's license or learner's permit yet, and we'd never had an occasion to get them a passport.

The College Board requires a government-issued photo ID in order to take the test. The homeschool identification cards many families use will not work, nor will their Social Security cards or even their birth certificates. There is a form on the site you can use in lieu of the required ID, but it must be notarized, so plan ahead.

Number 2 pencils


Bring two sharpened number 2 pencils with good erasers. Don't bring pens, colored pencils, or any other types of writing devices.

The right calculator


The College Board has a list of approved calculators. On the list are several graphing calculators and scientific calculators. If your student does not already have a graphing calculator, and will not need one in the near future, you may opt for a scientific calculator instead. These are a small fraction of the price of the approved graphing calculators, and will be adequate for most problems on the test.

If you are getting your child a new calculator, particularly a graphing calculator, for the test, make sure they know how to use it. Don't wait until a couple of days before the test to have them try it out. Graphing calculators are complicated, and it takes time to learn all the functions.

Social Security number


If your child has not memorized their own Social Security number, make sure it is written down for them. I suggest writing it in Sharpie on the back of their calculator. You can remove the ink with rubbing alcohol after the test is over, and your child won't have to keep up with a piece of paper with their sensitive information on it.

Comfortable clothing


Your child should wear comfy clothes on the day of the test, because they will be sitting in the testing room for up to four hours with minimal breaks. Because you have no way to know how warm or cold the room will be, layers are a good idea, with a sweater that they can take off or slip back on as needed.

EpiPen 


According to the College Board site, students do not need special permission to bring their EpiPen into the testing area, but it may be a good idea to inform the test coordinator or proctor if you have one, in case they need to administer it to you in an emergency.

Nothing else unless approved


Anything else you might bring into the testing area, including other medications, food or drink, or anything not on this list would have to be approved with special accommodations by the College Board. You need to contact them as early as possible to request accomodations if needed.

Don't forget, the PSAT is administered in October each year. If your student will be a junior this fall, this is the year that it counts. If they miss the exam date, they will not be able to make it up later. Younger students can take a practice run at the PSAT ahead of their junior year, but all students who wish to take the test should register early at a nearby school.