Unfortunately, itís about that time again. Exit levels and end of course exams are upon us and the intensity at school
is likely racking up. Advanced Placement tests and the like are starting to dominate class discussions and making sure weíre ready for all of these tests is driving our teachers and us insane. Itís a nightmare when these tests strike, but you donít have to give into the bad dreams every night.
Why Standardized Tests?
Oh tests, let me count the ways! If you start to tally up the number of state and national tests you take each year, itís not only sad itís a bit scary! Do you really need to take state tests in four subjects, an end of course exam in a few other classes and some district semester exams to boot? And why is it that all of these tests seem to have different things on them?
Standardized tests might be misguided, but they have good intentions at heart. The tests want to be sure youíre learning what youíre supposed to be learning and they are supposed to measure how much of the stuff youíve stored away over the year. In the case of state standardized tests, the skills covered are the minimum you ďshouldĒ have learned according to your state. Passing means youíve stayed on track. Doing well means youíre getting everything you need plus some.
End of course exams are essentially state-administered semester or yearly exams. Keep those notes because youíll need to study them if you hope to pass this baby. The end of course exam will go back to those first few days of school and right up to yesterdayís lecture. You need to know it all because you, and often your teacher, arenít sure whatís on the test until itís right in front of you. Even if youíre a great math student, it can be nerve wracking trying to review an entire yearís worth of material before a single day-long test.
There are a few exams we take for college preparation. The most obvious is the SAT. Taking the SAT gives you an idea of how well you compare to others taking the same test using a standardized scoring system and percentages. The number you get on the SAT can make a difference on admission paperwork when you start looking at certain schools, so itís not a test to be taken lightly. Of course, the SAT is just one of many tests you take as you get ready for college.
The AP, or Advanced Placement, tests give you college credit in many universities and colleges. Passing the AP test at the end of the advanced course means you worked at the college level and understood the material. Passing the tests gives you a pass on some of the basic courses in college saving you some serious cash and time as you work up to your degree.
Standardized Tests ImportantÖWhy Yes!
Itís easy to get blasť about these tests simply because we have so many of them. How can it be really important to try hard on seven different tests each year? Surely itís not that critical! The reality is that is can be absolutely critical. If you donít pass the state exams, you might not graduate. If you donít pass the AP exams, youíre not going to get college credit for your hard work. Stay serious about the tests and donít be afraid to ask for help if you feel yourself getting overwhelmed. Take the tests seriously, but donít get so nervous you start to panic.