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The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

Juniors adapt to new standardized test changes

Matthew Malloy ‘25
Some juniors had to take the PSAT 10 in the computer lab because of technical issues with their personal devices.

On Wednesday, October 11th, juniors at Mount Carmel made history. They were the first class at MC as a whole to take a standardized test entirely online. Instead of the familiar paper booklets and bubble sheets that were used in the past, students opened their school devices and logged onto Bluebook, an app made by The College Board, in order to take the PSAT 10 test. Many changes came along with the fact that this test was taken online, and the juniors and their proctors had to adapt to this new situation. 

While the test itself was taken online, juniors still came into school and went to their assigned classrooms.  

“This wasn’t a Mount Carmel decision,” said Mrs. Margaret Joyce. “It was more so a College Board decision.” Mrs. Joyce is the director of the McDermott-Doyle program and oversaw the changes brought to the PSAT 10. 

In recent years, more and more colleges have given students the option to not submit their standardized test scores. This is known as the test-optional policy. 

If colleges were changing the way they looked at standardized test scores, maybe it was time to change the tests themselves. The way students went about taking assessments was a great start.

“The reason for this switch is that College Board and educators felt it was needed,” said Mrs. Joyce. “People felt that a digital test would make scores more relevant.”  

While the juniors were the first to take a digital standardized test, other assessments have also switched to devices as well. When it comes time for freshman and sophomores to take their respective PSATs, they’ll have to go online, too. 

Because it’s a changing time for standardized tests and how students apply to college, many think putting the PSAT online would benefit most students.  

“Since the test is online, questions can be catered more to what a student’s score is,” said Mrs. Joyce. “It’s more customized to the testaker which can be a great help in the future.”


Mrs. Joyce currently works in the McCarthy Wing for the McDermott-Doyle Program. (Matthew Malloy ‘25)

While Mrs. Joyce believes the test day was an overall success, some juniors were opposed to taking a test online. 

“My screen was a strain on my eyes,” said Marty Wilmes. “It was hard to stay focused while staring at a bright screen for two hours.”

College Board shortened the online version of the PSAT 10 in order to solve some of the issues Wilmes brings up. In the future, more changes might need to be made. 

“I’ve taken standardized tests on paper in the past,” said Wilmes. “The bubble sheet was fine with me. [With paper tests] I felt mentally engaged the whole time.”

While some students like Wilmes are against digital standardized tests, other juniors liked taking the PSAT 10 online. 

“The test-taking experience was overall easier on my iPad,” said junior Ryan Clark. “I didn’t have to waste time filling out my address and other personal information on a bubble sheet.”

Clark is referring to how on a paper test a student must fill out their information on a bubble sheet before starting the assessment. However, the new digital test allowed students to fill this out online before the day of the test. This not only saved time for the juniors, but also the teachers that came in to proctor the test.

These new changes have brought some adversity. Students with Chromebooks and Google devices were not able to download the Bluebook app, and therefore had to take the test in the computer lab located in the McCarthy wing. These students were still able to put in their information before the test but could not take the test itself on their own device. Some other students ran into technical issues with their devices the morning of the test, too.

Another problem that arose the morning of the test went beyond the students and their devices. 

“When we tried to get onto Bluebook, College Board had the entire site completely down,” said Mrs. Joyce. “That delayed the start of the test, but wasn’t a big problem to fix.”

While there may be some issues students and teachers will have to face when it comes to taking standardized tests online, a digital test may overall benefit students in the long run.   

“This is something new to everyone,” said Mrs. Joyce. “I’m looking forward to the future and am overall excited with how that first test day went.”

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About the Contributor
Matthew Malloy ‘25, Staff Writer
Matthew Malloy is a junior at Mount Carmel High School. He resides in the Southside of Chicago in the Beverly neighborhood and attended St. John Fisher Elementary School. Matt is currently a member of the student council, The Merchant, varsity golf team, varsity volleyball team, and the Caravan Media Group in which he is the play by play announcer for all home football and basketball games. As for academics, Matt is in the top 10 for the class of 2025. He first gained interest for journalism by watching ESPN’s College GameDay and reading The Beverly Review. His favorite sports commentators are Dick Vitale, Gus Johnson, Ray Clay, and Jim Nantz. As for favorite sports teams, Matt likes the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Manchester United F.C., Chicago Bears, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and his favorite golfers are John Daly, Bryson DeChambeau, and Collin Morikawa. His favorite band is the Red Hot Chili Peppers and his favorite album is The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. Matt’s favorite movies are Goodfellas and Asteroid City while The Office, Freaks and Geeks, and Friday Night Lights are his favorite TV shows. He and his cousins are continuing the tradition and legacy of the O’Connor family at Mount Carmel as he is the nephew of Dan O’Connor ‘95 and grandson of Frank O’Connor ‘61 and Kathy O’Connor, who works in the spirit store and is an avid supporter of Mount Carmel.