The weather is getting colder, the leaves are turning brown and the juniors and seniors are starting to look more and more like extras from The Walking Dead. This can mean only one thing: standardized testing season has begun.
Every fall from about 10th grade onward (perhaps even earlier for all of you child prodigies out there), students are pelted with what seems like every method of mental torture on the books. Whether it’s the PSAT, PLAN, SAT or ACT, standardized tests are just plain awful.
First off, the administration of these types of tests makes them downright horrid. Packing unsightly amounts of grumpy adolescents into a freezing room for approximately six hours hardly seems like the best way to administer a test, especially one as important as the SAT or ACT. Waking up at six in the morning is hard enough, but waking up at six in the morning on a Saturday to go take a six hour test is just cruel.
Even worse is the content of these tests. I have yet to encounter a question on the SAT that could actually be applied to everyday life. The worst offender of all of the irrelevant questions is definitely the Critical Reading section of the SAT. The College Board’s incessant need to include diverse stories makes most of the passages completely obscure and unrelatable for the students who take the test. I guarantee that knowing the complete life story of the first Asian-American female amputee to ever make it to the moon will never help you find a job. Ever.
All of this aside, the absolute worst part of all of these tests is how much they count. I for one am a horrendous test taker, and it terrifies me to know that major life decisions could ultimately be decided by the fact that I’m bad at filling in tiny bubbles on an answer sheet.
But keep in mind that while test scores are important, they are not everything. A perfect 2400 SAT score will not guarantee you acceptance into your dream school, and a not-so-perfect score does not mean that your application will not be considered. Admissions officers understand that some truly intelligent people are just horrible at taking tests and will not base your acceptance or rejection solely based on how you did on one measly test. And if you are truly so unhappy with your score that you don’t even want any colleges to see it, there are many colleges who don’t require any sort of standardized test score for admission.
For all of you facing the living hell of standardized testing in the near future, try not to stress too much and may the odds be ever in your favor.