Con: Standardized tests should be optional

The PSAT and SAT cause unnecessary stress for students and should be optional instead of required


Allie Everhart

Though scores on standardized tests are important to schools and community in addition to students, many students find the stress unnecessary, especially since most colleges are now test optional.

Kennedy Tetour, Managing Editor

Every year MCHS students go through the process of taking the PSAT and SAT exams. Though many people still believe that these standardized tests are important to a teenager’s high school career, there’s proof that the PSAT and SAT cause unnecessary stress and anguish for students.

The PSAT is a preliminary test that is meant to prepare students for the SAT exam their junior year of high school. Students at MCHS take this preliminary test one grade at a time throughout the course of a week.

The SAT is typically used to measure a student’s knowledge on topics that they’ve learned throughout all of high school. The test is often presented as a major factor in a student’s future due to the way that colleges view scores in order to admit students.

In recent years many colleges have become test optional, meaning that it’s up to the applicants whether or not they want to submit their SAT scores to the school they’re applying to. This has made many students feel as though the test does not matter, and therefore has made overall scores of MCHS students decrease in the past two years.

In addition to many colleges going test optional, many colleges in the midwest don’t look for SAT scores anymore. Illinois is one of only eight states left that still requires all high school juniors to take the SAT. With such a low number of states requiring the exam, it feels almost useless taking a test that most of the country no longer expects students to take.

The SAT has become such an integral part in MCHS’s atmosphere that many teachers are being encouraged to teach SAT prep in their classes. Requiring teachers to take class time to go over test prep may be helpful for juniors when the actual exam rolls around, but for freshman and sophomores it simply feels like a waste of time. In addition to this, students are often expected to complete regular class work as well as study for the exam in their own free time, leaving little room for rest and causing students to stress more than is necessary.

Sometimes good PSAT and SAT scores can help students receive scholarships and give students an opportunity to be recognized for their hard work. Though these opportunities are amazing, it can be hard for students to score well on these tests, giving them a low chance to actually receive any recognition for their hard work. And when students work hard and still don’t do as well as they expected, it can cause a drop in morale and make students feel poorly about themselves.

The PSAT and SAT tests should be an optional exam for students to take. Many states across the nation have started letting students choose whether they want to take the SAT or ACT, and some states don’t require either test to be taken. This solution seems like a simple fix to a problem that burdens MCHS students every year. Some students and their parents truly believe that taking the SAT is the best choice for them, but others would rather not take the extra time out of their lives for a test that may or may not impact their future.