The Highlander

Put Subject Tests to rest

SAT Subject Tests cause Juniors unnecessary stress

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Image obtained via a creative commons license

Image obtained via a creative commons license

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Bluestocking

Image obtained via a creative commons license

Jessie Friedman, Reporter

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As the June SAT Subject Test date approaches, McLean students are scrambling to study for these bothersome standardized tests.

Subject Tests are standardized tests administered by The College Board that test a student’s knowledge of a specific subject on the high school level. Many colleges recommend or require students to submit Subject Test scores in their college applications. Performing well on these tests is important to building a strong application, but the usefulness of the tests is questionable.

According to The College Board, Subject Tests are helpful to “show colleges your interests.” However, the choices on Subject Tests exclude many subjects. Although tests are offered in literature, history, math, the sciences, and languages, many social sciences subjects such as economics and psychology are not included. Because of the missing subjects, many students find it difficult to choose Subject Tests that truly reflect their interests.

In addition to this fact, AP test scores, high school transcripts, essays, and teacher recommendations should provide colleges with the information they need to identify student’s interests and academic prowess in their preferred subjects.

Other standardized tests, like the SAT and ACT, give college admissions officers the ability to compare students across different schools more accurately than a test on one subject does.

“The SAT and ACT already test on what [colleges are] looking for,” junior Christina Savory said. “Why do they need another standardized test?”

Junior year of high school is an especially chaotic and busy time, and juniors at McLean are preoccupied by difficult classes and extracurricular activities. Students find the extra preparation time for a test that is unhelpful to them irksome.

“It’s not doing much to benefit you,” junior Reagan Lumme said. “All it’s doing is making you study for another Saturday morning test.”

Subject Tests are an unnecessary burden to add to an already stressful junior year of high school, because their purpose is already fulfilled by other requirements of a college application. With popular student opinion clearly against Subject Tests, it is time for colleges to stop using these scores to make admissions decisions and start relying on more indicative information, such as the student’s high school transcript, recommendations, and essays.

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