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The Glen Bard

The Glen Bard

First Digital PSAT Crashes to a Halt

Victor Martinez
Digital Art by Victor Martinez

A multitude of West Juniors experienced technical difficulties throughout the first digital PSAT/NMSQT exam on Oct.10, as the College Board experienced a worldwide system failure. 

With the PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10, and 2024 SAT also set to be taken virtually, what does this mean for upcoming College Board exams? 

During the exam, many students were repeatedly kicked out of the test-taking app, Bluebook. Some had to restart their iPads, update them, or even perform a hard reset.

One junior detailed how when they “clicked to answer a free response, it would kick me out. I would then try to log back in, but the app would keep crashing. It probably took about 40 minutes before my test was working.” 

One student had to restart their “iPad a grand total of 11 times, most were fine after that but the software update took around 20 minutes” and hard resetting their “iPad was around 45 [minutes] long”. 

Another junior described how after completing a hard reset on their device, all of their “Notability notes have disappeared and can only be found in Google Drive.”  

The new digital testing format is self-paced. While students with minimal errors finished on time, others had to wait for their test time to end and then catch a late bus.

Assistant Principal of Instruction at Glenbard West, Sara Kush, thanked juniors for their patience in a Schoology post on Wednesday and explained that the administration “have since learned that there was a widespread problem with the Bluebook app and iOS 17 that College Board is currently working to remedy.” 

The College Board  announced the transition to virtual testing in January 2022. They explained that the digital version would be shorter, offer more time per question, have briefer reading passages, permit calculators throughout, cover a broader range of topics, enhance security, and publish scores faster.

One student reported that “the English portion was significantly better, but the tech issues were so severe that it wasn’t worth it at all.” 

Another junior “thought I would like taking it virtually because I wouldn’t have to bubble anything in, making it shorter overall. However, the app crashing every minute made taking the test super frustrating.” They clarified that “as of now I would prefer to take the test on paper, but if they fixed all the problems with the app crashing, then I would take it online again.”

The future of the reliability of College Board testing is unclear. 


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About the Contributor
Katherine Schlueter
Katherine Schlueter is a junior and Editor-in-Chief of The Glen Bard. In addition to newspaper, she enjoys reading, camping, listening to music, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.