The Score Dilemma

The increase of college tuition and scholarship difficulty has made students focus on standardized testing more than ever. And it disgusts me.

I took me SATs three times and my ACT twice. Between the time it took for me to study and take these tests, I could have had three decent nights of sleep. But instead I sat in stuffy classrooms that raised my stress level. And I don’t think that’s too healthy for the youth of America.

Standardized testing is made to test how much you already know, not how many SAT vocabulary words you forced into your mind the night before. These tests are to know where you are in terms of testing a college workload. To say anything else about them is false, and that’s the reason we put so much stress on them. People assume that by getting the absolute best score by studying day in and day out means that they are definitely ready for college. But the tests aren’t about how much you can learn from a strategy textbook. It wants to know what you learned from your basic education.

Right about this time I am seeing everyone talking about test results. So many teenagers are biting their nails and ripping out their hair because if they don’t get within the top 90% they won’t get into college and their life is ruined. It makes me nauseous because I once was in their position and I wish someone had explained to me how ridiculous my worry had been.

Here are some of my observations from my standardized testing era:

  1. In the end, as great as your scores may be, colleges are looking for extracurriculars, positions of leadership, and ability to adapt before they are looking at which percentile you scored in on your ACT. So spending your time at your school’s service club volunteering with the elderly instead of practicing algebra is going to appeal to colleges quite a bit more.
  2. And sometimes studying for these tests doesn’t even mean you’ll get a better score. The first time I took my ACT I didn’t exactly study because I figured my SAT prep from the month before was fine. I scored really well. The second time I took it I studied really hard so I could get my score up a few points. Incidentally, I received a lower score.
  3. It’s all an unnecessary stress. Colleges just want to know how successful you will be at university based on your current knowledge. Don’t try to impress them with a fancy score and then come to school and do poorly. High school is already stressful with course work, uni applications, and scholarship essays. Don’t take your time from these important factors (that are much more important to getting into your school) by stressing over how well you will do on the SAT writing section.

All of this said, please take a step back and breathe. You all have done your best on these tests and killing yourself over them isn’t healthy. You are as smart as you need to be. Any school would be lucky to have you. Plus, the less time you spend taking them, the less money you’ll be spending too.

If you have any more questions about my standardized testing experience, feel free to comment or email me at teenenthusiasm@gmail.com.

Stay classy, Internet,

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P.S. Because it is officially my summer hols (AHHHHHHH!) I finally have more time to write, so start expecting more blog posts! If you want to be a guest blogger, contact me at teenenthusiasm@gmail.com, or if you have a topic you want me to cover, or if you have anything else, please contact me! I want to really grow the Enthusiast community this summer!

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