The Dreaded Proficiency Test


Photo Credit: Rachel Ramenda

Written by: Joe Berger ’20 (Web Staff Writer)

Every year near the end of the Winter term, sophomores sit down for 50 minutes to take the English Department’s notorious proficiency test. The exam, also known as the PT, is actually composed of two separate tests. On February 16th, every sophomore will take the writing section of the test while the grammar section will be administered on the 23rd. Throughout this year and every other year, students improve their writing abilities through mandatory writing workshop classes. In these helpful lessons, students learn to master interpretive sentences and interpretive paragraphs, writing techniques that are especially important for the PT. In the writing section, the students will be given a prompt to read and interpret. Afterwards, they will need to write an interpretive paragraph answering the question pertaining to the excerpt. Soon after the writing section is finished, the English Department meets together and grades these paragraphs one by one. The paragraph can be given a “High Pass,” a “Pass,” or a “R” for retake. Now in respect of the grammar section, passing is usually easier for most students. Out of 80 questions, getting 60 correct counts as a pass! Fortunately, the PT does not impact your English grade, but passing the PT as a sophomore can give a student more opportunity to pursue advanced English courses. Additionally, for the grammar section, the advanced English course, English Seminar, expects for their incoming students to get 68 questions right rather than 60. So, for all you sophomores, sharpen your pencils and hit the books.