Pressure forces students to crave extra time

Looking at the effects of standardized tests


Annie O'Connell

In order to get into competitive colleges, some students feel that they must abuse the free time granted to them in order to score higher on tests like the ACT and SAT.

Anneliese Moore, Managing Editor

For students who view college as a crucial step towards a successful career, choosing the right college creates an inordinate amount of pressure. As a result, an industry has been created: standardized test preparation. Not only do students and their families spend money on buying SAT or ACT preparatory books, but today it seems that to get a high score, one needs a standardized test tutor. This coaching is both expensive, time consuming, and unfair for students who cannot afford to pay for an extra tutor on top of the school tuition.

Due to the heightened competition to be accepted to some of the highest ranked schools in the country, as well as the increased marketing by college admission officials, students are taking greater measures towards securing a high SAT/ACT score. Some of these measures include extended time. While many students truly do need this extra time on tests, some students unfairly try to get extra time from doctors in order to do better on the tests.

A student who requested anonymity states, “I felt so much pressure to get a good score on the ACT that I tried to pass for having anxiety. I didn’t think it was fair that some of my friends got to take the test for as long as they wanted and even days for some. Obviously if I had that much time I could ace [the test] too.”

Although many colleges are starting to go test-optional, meaning they don’t require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores to apply, this does not eliminate the pressure of standardized testing, especially because most schools still require them. Another anonymous student comments, “I think there’s just too much stress put on standardized tests and that’s the reason why students think they can wrongly get extended time. I actually need extra time, but I know a lot of people who have it when they definitely don’t need it.”

 Are standardized tests really pushing students to feel the need to get extra time? Every student at Blake signs an agreement with the school stating that they will not cheat. But isn’t taking advantage of “the system” by getting extended time when you don’t need it a form of cheating? This act is perpetuated by the stress of standardized testing, and until the tests are removed or significantly changed to be fair for everyone, students will continue to seek for unneeded extra time.