Standardized Test Scores

by Emily Lu ’25 and Emma Jia ’25

Source: The New York Times

Published Oct. 16th, 2021

The testing season for standardized tests like the SAT, ACT, and PSAT has started, impacting students’ lives in many ways, from the mental aspect to the physical toll.

For many people, October might mean the start of fall, leaves turning colors, and Halloween. But for the juniors and seniors of our school, it may mean taking one of the biggest tests they will take in their entire high school career. These include the SAT, PSAT, and ACT, although at Montgomery High School, the SAT and the PSAT are taken much more frequently compared to the ACT.

This stress can follow students even after taking the tests, as around ⅔ individuals in a survey of 62 students still report feeling nervous after finishing their exams. Feeling relieved and tired are also common feelings reported. As Madhani Venkatraghavan ‘22 reflected, “I felt relieved, but when you get the test score it’s so stressful.” According to students, this is due to the strong emphasis put on these tests, and the importance of them. Around 90% of the surveyed students felt like there was too much emphasis put on standardized testing.

Although many of these students understand the need for these exams for college admissions, they believe that the stress that comes with preparing for these exams can be “overwhelming” and “intimidating.” Because of this, there is much controversy about whether standardized tests should be removed or not. Almost 50% feel strongly about discontinuing the use of standardized testing. The students also reported that they believe standardized testing doesn’t cover anything that is necessary in our highschool. Some even think they are completely useless. 

Despite these shared opinions, many students must still prepare for these standardized tests. As for how the students prepare, Caroline Zhao ‘23 studied “by doing Khan Academy problems and reading through some review books. Through practice, [she] tried to become better at reading fast, quickly recognizing mistakes in grammar, and quickly solving math problems.” She also mentioned that she started preparing a month in advance. Time management is also a very big part of preparing for these tests, as “you have to balance [things] like school work and clubs and sports,” Madhani Venkatraghavan, ‘22 adds. The time consuming preparation for these exams is also considered a large part of the stress to the students, in addition to the exam itself.  

With these tests being either being recently taken or still upcoming, we all hope for the best for everyone who is preparing or has taken these standardized tests!