College entrance exams; stressful, inaccurate measure of academic success

Scantrons are a trademark of standardized testing. Even the sight of them can stress some students out. “Because of the struggle of bubbling in answers on a scantron, a single mistake can easily be overlooked, and when you do finally notice a discrepancy in the number problem you are solving and the number answer you are bubbling in, it may already be too late in the test,” said Nitya Sunil, 10. Image by Eli Zawatsky

Pencils scribbling. Papers ruffling. Coughs, sneezes, chairs moving and desks scraping the ground. As most students know, these are the only sounds that accompany you while taking a college entrance exam. The experience of testing itself can be stressful and uncomfortable.

“It’s rough waking up at 7:30 a.m. and giving up half your Saturday to take a test that affects the direction of your future,” Said Shyam Parikh, 12.

While the test may be an uncomfortable experience, a dedicated student understands that the results are what really matters, as they can determine anything from academic achievement to college admission. But are these tests really an accurate picture of a student’s intellectual ability?

“Although GPAs and test scores can’t accurately represent your academic achievement throughout high school, I feel that they correlate pretty strongly with how well someone is prepared for college,” said Nicolas Hershey, 12

According to a graph released on on college admission to Stanford University, a high concentration of students who were denied admission to the college had in between a 3.5 and 4,0 GPA, but did not have adequate ACT scores or SAT scores.

The graph showed that college admission tests have an equal or greater effect on admission rates than GPA.

“It is important to note that even students with ideal test scores and GPAs are often denied entrance into high profile schools. They may be important, but colleges take an elusive ‘holistic approach’ when considering applicants and will very rarely accept any but the most well rounded students,” said Hershey.

The PSAT is a test that determines whether or not a student is admitted into the National Honor Society. But unlike the ACT and SAT, it cannot be redone if a student receives an undesirable score.

Some students decided to take the PSAT as freshmen and Sophomores. Although their scores do not count, the experience can be a valuable tool when they take the test as a junior.

“I think it gave me a good idea of the layout of the test but not much additional preparation in terms of content,” said Bryan Waterhouse, 12.

Not matter the feeling of students toward college entrance exams, it does not change the fact that they are a vital part of entrance into a university.