The Horror That is Standardized Testing

By Ericka Miller

Standardized tests— students hate taking them, teachers are forced to proctor them, and a plethora of pre-sharpened number two pencils are sacrificed for them. Still, they’re right around the corner so beware and prepare before you’re next in line to stare blankly at your test booklet.

Aside from the weeks dedicated to learning how to pass the test, students have plenty of reasons to resent the beginning of testing season.

To start, you are pulled out of class and divided into classrooms and seated alphabetically. Tests tickets, packets, number two pencils, and maybe a piece of candy if you’re lucky enough, are passed out.

A half-hour has passed but the test hasn’t started yet, leaving you bored out of your mind with only your thoughts to entertain themselves with, anxiety increasing as you struggle to retain any information relating to the test.

Thinking 20 minutes must have passed, attention turns to the nearest clock but only five minutes have gone by. This is how it will be until the test begins and you’re racing against the clock.

Time is your worst enemy on any test, yet in order to score high, the most important thing to do is remain focused. However, it is almost impossible to retain eye to test booklet to answer sheet coordination when there is someone constantly making noise as if you aren’t in the middle of a potentially life-changing test.

There you are, frantically going through the test, when you hear someone humming away to some throwback song they heard on their way to school, irritating everyone within a two-desk radius. As if it couldn’t get any worse, someone starts reading aloud, throwing you off balance.

Another problem arises, not one from obnoxious classmates, but from the testing environment itself. The room is way too cold for one. Even through the long sleeve tee and oversized hoodie, you can feel the breeze blasting from the A.C.

Also, sitting for this long has left you stiff but you don’t have time to walk to the bathroom. The desk may even be extremely creaky, meaning that every time you try a subtle stretch, a squeaking sound seems to echo around the room.

Looking up at the clock, you realize there are only 30 minutes remaining to complete the first section of the test and you have completed 17 of them— out of 55. You freak out and strategize: take the number of incomplete questions, divided by the amount of time left to finish the test, multiplied by cosine over b, to get both a ridiculous plan and, somehow, the answer to question 18.

Scanning the classroom, you see almost everybody has finished with their tests and are now either dozing off or doodling. Starting the mad dash to the last question, you are distracted by thoughts such as “how is everyone done when I’m not?” and “was the test really that easy?” This is not a good idea and yet we all do it anyway.

As the test comes to an end, pencils down, booklets closed, future sealed, you sink into your seat, relieved at finishing yet another standardized test until you remember that you have several more in the coming weeks.

Now you may be cursing all those tests— yes, standardized tests are boring, annoying, and stressful, but because they do exist (for now), try to do your best, keep calm and carry on, and call upon more cheesy inspirational quotes while you’re at it.

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