This isn’t particularly relevant to teen books, but it is relevant to teens. We take standardized tests at least once a year, from the time we’re eight (in my state). Every senior in high school, myself included, stresses about their SAT scores. I got my scores back today, for the second and last time that I will take the SAT reasoning test. Now, I am a good test taker. I am pleased with my scores.* I don’t find the experience of taking a standardized test to be particularly torturous, though the SAT does happen too early for my taste on a Saturday morning.

Just so we’re clear: I’m not personally bitter about anything. But I hate standardized tests. I hate the whole principle of it. A good four years (at least) of my future is decided largely by one Saturday morning. Certainly, that’s not the only factor in college admissions. Just like the state test I take at the end of certain classes isn’t the only factor in my grade, but it is 1/4 of it. We decide major things based on a few hours. What if I was unwell that morning? What if there were sirens passing by the window and I was distracted by the noise? What if I have severe test anxiety but I’m super-smart? Then is it fair that my future is largely based on a few hours’ filling in bubbles?

No. It’s not fair to anyone. I understand that there must be ways to compare a student in California to a student in Iowa, really, I do. But I don’t think this is it. Test scores are so important to us, but there are a million things that can affect how well we do on standardized tests.

I don’t pretend to have the solution to this testing madness, or any power to change it, but I don’t like it.

*(My highest SAT scores are 780 on Critical Reading, 740 on Writing, and 700 on math, so you know I’m not just complaining–I’m perfectly happy with my scores).