Enough with the Testing!

Ashley Alcantara, Co-Arts & Entertainment Editor

File:CB-PNstacked-logo-RGB-160926.png - Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever sat down and wondered why taking so many tests throughout high school was essential? Of course regular tests that are given from your teachers cannot be argued with, but what about state or even national exams? The SAT is a national exam that is ineffective in evaluating a student’s performance.

The SAT has been used by colleges across the nation for years as a requirement for undergraduate college applications. However, even though most colleges went test-optional because of COVID-19, students are still pressured to take this exam in order to impress colleges that they took it amidst a pandemic. The following statement holds true as students know that if they want to stand out and be chosen amongst the rest of the student applications that are just as qualified as they are, they must perform well on this exam.

To begin with, the SAT is actually a lot of money if you add up all of the costs. For instance, an SAT exam with no essay and no fee waiver costs $52.00. Therefore if a student plans to take the exam two times, they will have to pay $104.00; and if three times, $156.00.

There are still students who have yet to receive their refunds for the cancelled March and May SAT exams; and yet had to pay again to register for the September and October exams. In total, this reporter has paid $248.00 for these exams and SAT related services.

Furthermore, the College Board has ensured that students are not just paying them once, as most students are forced to take this exam multiple times so that they have high scores to report to their college. With expenses from AP exams and SAT subject tests already a concern, the SAT adds additional expenses for students to worry about. 

Copies of SAT preparation books at the Brentwood High School Ross library.

Moreover, the time spent on preparing for this exam can be dedicated somewhere else. For instance, the SAT doesn’t require students to think out-of-the-box. Instead, students are urged to adapt to the test formatting and rules that the College Board has established. On that note, 12th grade student Amber Connell validates this point.

“The SAT only teaches me how to take a test. I don’t see it helping me out much in the future. I need to know how to do things in the real world; the SAT isn’t real,” Connell said.

Students should not have to stress over this exam, as they need to spend their time on completing the rest of the college application process.

“For so long, students have stressed over these standardized exams, because although colleges say they aren’t the only thing they will look at, many will not bat an eye at an application that does not meet their standards,” said Amelia Chicas, another senior.

Students with test anxiety are disadvantaged when taking this exam. Essentially there are students, including myself, who have no problem taking quizzes and tests in class, but when it comes to big tests such as the SAT, all goes downhill.

The fact that the reading section is timed, also does not help students with test anxiety as they try to quickly comprehend a passage they’re reading, but end up having to re-read the passage again to answer the questions.

Overall, students are made to believe that this national exam is worth a lot, so if they were to not achieve a specific score, they think they will be less likely to get accepted into their dream college. Thus, students should not have to beat themselves over this exam, as a score should not determine a student’s worth nor capability.

While so much emphasis is placed on the SAT, there are factors that matter so much more and convey a more intimate picture of a college applicant. Specifically, the personal essay, supplement questions, and activity section on the common application is where a student’s time should be dedicated, as they need to ensure that they not only showcase their academic accomplishments, but also their personal story.  

As of now, I hope that students who are preparing for the November SAT exams are not stressing too much and take study breaks when necessary. At the end of the day, we are all more than just an SAT score; students would do well to remember that.