Are standardized tests really worth it?


Evy Apostolou

Evy Apostolou, Website Production Team

I’ve taken the SAT and ACT a total of eight times.

If you think about it, I’ve spent five hours in that room each test, making a total of forty hours in the testing room.

Forty hours.

Almost two entire days.

That’s not a healthy amount of time to sit in a room forced to take a test that makes my head want to explode.
Not only have I taken those standardized tests so many times, but for the majority of junior year, I was in SAT prep three times a week. Where I, yet again, sat in a room and took practice tests.

Beginning each test, I read the prompt. And then I read it again. And then I read it again and again and again until I actually knew what I am reading. I stared at the paper, trying to recall the tactics I learned, trying to understand the passage and looking for key concepts while trying not to run out of time. And I am still on the first question.

After receiving my scores, I never give up. I simply just keep trying, and expect to improve.

But there has come a time after eight tests where I have just had to accept the truth. I cannot take a standardized test. I cannot get the score I need. No matter how many hours a week I spend on prep, I will never get the score I deserve.

And I am not the only one.

Many of us struggle with standardized testing. And because I am not a test taker, my college selection is limited. I have dreamed of attending accomplished schools, the schools you say and people think: “Wow. How did she go there?”
But why? For the rights of saying some prestigious title, I am willing to torture myself for forty hours just so my parents can spend 70k a year to send me to an “impressive” school.

But that’s the thing, they can’t. Even though I have put an absurd amount of effort and energy into standardized testing, I still have below average scores. I don’t have the scores to get into my dream schools.

I do have the time and effort, but why does effort matter if I don’t have a 1480? Colleges don’t grade effort. They grade what they see on paper.

Yes, some schools are beginning to look at other aspects of your character, but no matter how many clubs you are in, test scores come first. Mindless multiple choice reading comprehension questions matter more than my countless hours of dedication to school and my college applications.

And, it IS expected for an average high schooler to have a weighted 4.0 GPA, get at least a 1400 on their SAT, while being captain of the lacrosse team, president of National Honor Society and Beta Club, be a member of 17 clubs, do community service weekly, while being the president of youth group at church, and take every single AP class offered in high school. Obviously, you have friends and a social life, and on the side create a nuclear missile and fly a rocket to Jupiter.

Society has created impossible expectations for high schoolers in the modern age. What happened to just trying hard and having fun in high school? “Trying your best” isn’t enough anymore. It’s all about your ranking and numbers.

What if I failed my pre-calculus test because I felt like I could have a mental break down at any moment? Can I put that on my college application? “Sorry I didn’t get to the nuclear missile, I was too busy in therapy.”

The pressure on teenagers in today’s society is unreasonable and unrealistic for most students. How am I expected to know exactly what I want to major in before I even start college? Before I’ve even had the chance to figure out who I
am because I am too busy with school and extracurricular activities. What happened to mental health and self care?
Shouldn’t that come before all? I don’t believe I should give back to my community before I am okay with myself.

Everyone is accomplished and professional, and I still spend two and a half hours picking out my school outfits for the next day. Our generation is too focused and stressed about the future, and we are unable to appreciate our last years at home.

We shouldn’t have to rush the important decisions, it comes when it comes and if it doesn’t happen, it wasn’t meant to be.