THE STANDARDIZED TEST AND YOU: How one student really feels about college prep tests

It’s every student’s favorite time of the year, and teachers wait on pins and needles.  The testing season is here, and I’m sure everyone is stoked. There’s something about the sound of pencils snapping, students crying, and clocks ticking that just makes me feel all bubbly inside.

Seriously, who doesn’t love testing in the morning?

The SAT, ACT, and PSAT all seem to rhyme with KILL ME.  I hope the sarcasm in the previous paragraph was evident, because there is nothing great about taking these tests.

To my knowledge, there is nothing worse than sitting in a cold classroom for five hours struggling over calculating the area of parallelograms (not drawn to scale).

Some might argue death is the worst that could happen to a person, but I find myself wondering, while soaking little circles in graphite, how bad can death be?

I imagine that Hell is something akin to a Princeton Review course located in a random, unmarked building. However, Hell does not require that participants bring two #2 pencils and a calculator that doesn’t talk to you.  I suppose it’s a good thing I’m going the other way.

While on the topic of what to bring to Hell, who in the world ever needs or has a calculator that talks to you?  That’s what iPhones are for.  The parameters regarding calculators during standardized testing are as follows:

I find it strange that the calculator you use when testing isn’t allowed to print.  I would love to be in the classroom when some less-than-dull square decides he’s going to print all of his answers onto a tiny receipt and pass it to his neighbor.  Yeah, I’m sure that would go over nicely. Forget the incredible sputtering and scratching made when such receipts are produced, I’m sure you could get away with it.

What irritates me most about these tests, however, is not the test itself.  In fact, I think I learn more from the test rather than applying what I already know when testing.  For example, just recently, I learned that a majority of the younger generation has never seen a cow.  Apparently, this is crucial knowledge for the testing population.  Otherwise, the PSAT administration wouldn’t include it in their entirely exclusive repertoire of questions.

You know, I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t pay so much attention to coloring in the circles, I would retain even more of the information that I read. By this logic, the testing Scantron should be eliminated. I think

I would be more worried about answering the question correctly, than I am trying to keep track of which little circle I’m about to color. I waste so much time being OCD about the exact arrangement of my little dots that I end up getting questions wrong.

Sometimes, I like to form little patterns out of the dots, and when one dot becomes too repetitive, I’ll circle the one from which it is farthest.

Returning to my previous subject matter of irritation, my biggest problem with testing is when the tests take place.  I’m sure the College Board has some inside knowledge of my surprisingly empty schedule, because they always pick that one Saturday when I have so much going on, I’m so eager to dash all my plans… to choose to host their ACT.  Yeah, I can’t think of any better way to spend five hours of my Saturday.  I can miss the Red River Rivalry, no problem.  Cancel the weekend trip? Why not?

I would much rather grind my teeth and smell 30 stressed out students perspire while I wonder who Pythagoras is and why I care.

Wait a minute.  Who is Pythagoras, and why the heck does anyone care? I’ll tell you why.  Because the more you know about Pythagoras and all of his little Greek buddies, the better chance you have of paying slightly less than $40,000 a year for college with recurring debts.  Exciting, right?

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