Standardized Testing: Stressful or Helpful?


Kathryn Roseberry

A poster outside the counseling office advertising the SAT.

Kathryn Roseberry, Staff Writer

During high school, one topic that is on a lot of students’ minds is their future and what they plan to do after high school. Most State High students plan to go to college, and with college preparations come standardized tests. The standardized testing season is nearly here, and with it comes Keystones, ACTs, SATs, and AP tests. All the time spent studying for these tests, along with everyday classes, can bring lots of stress, and students’ opinions on the value of standardized tests are split.

“I usually see them as useless,” junior Tori Korman said. “The system seems inaccurate because some people are just better test-takers than others. To me, the cons outweigh the pros, and they don’t seem very helpful or accurate.” 

Junior Jillian Carpenter added to this viewpoint, noting further perceived cons of standardized testing.

“It’s unfair because it focuses on testing in general, whereas most people aren’t comfortable with testing,” Carpenter added. 

Korman also commented on the stress levels of students during testing season.

“School just puts so much pressure on testing that even students who are academically advanced feel obligated to be anxious over them, even if they’re performing above and beyond regardless.”

There has been much debate over whether standardized testing is helpful or not. Some believe that all they do is cause stress, while others feel that they’re useful when it comes to life after high school.

“It can help colleges know how you’ll do on tests because a lot of people have to take tests for majors,” Carpenter stated. “At the same time, it’s unfair because not everyone’s good at testing.”

However, some of these tests aren’t in the picture for everyone. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many colleges have temporarily gone test-optional, and some have even made the switch permanent. 

“I think that colleges going test-optional permanently is great,” Korman said. “It should help take some of the stress off of students who are anxious about standardized testing.”

Many students are on board with colleges’ decisions to go test-optional and believe that schools should go a step further and find a different way to admit students rather than making standardized testing the norm.

“I feel like they need a different way to accept students into colleges,” Carpenter said. “Not everyone’s good at testing, some people are better at other things.”

Students may have mixed feelings about standardized tests, but ultimately, there are times when they’re inevitable. As the standardized testing season approaches, students are left to grapple between balancing courseload, carving out time to study, and wondering if these tests are truly beneficial to their education, or if they’re just another score to add to one’s profile.