Are exams raising the bar too high?


An ideal situation that contemporary students wish for is the moment they open their email, nervously hoping for the perfect 2400. Whether their parents force them to attend academies choose to prepare for these exams, it is clear that standardized tests are “consuming” modern civilization.

Sam Rosenberry, a writer from The Spectator, asserts that there has always been pressure to do well and get high scores on the SAT or ACT.

Rosenberry states the significance of these tests but emphasizes that they are “placement exams into a certain section or level of a class, but nothing more.”

But why are these tests such a large part of students’ academic records?

The fact lies in how much colleges are weighing these tests in the admissions process. According to Jennifer Rorie, writer for the Harbinger Online, students who perform well on the SAT or ACT are considered more intelligent and are accepted to more prominent schools compared to students with low scores. However, how much these tests are weighed into their application really differs depending on which university they apply to.

“It really depends on the college and the system, and private schools tend to do different things with how much they weigh [tests],” counselor Matt Campbell said.

The way certain schools, especially private ones, factor standardized tests, such as the SAT, is unequal. But recently, a number of colleges, including Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, have made the SAT or ACT optional, with the realization that standardized test scores are somewhat irrelevant, as more college applications become test-optional.

However, Campbell argues that rather than the tests putting pressure on the students, the students are putting more pressure on themselves to do well on these exams. Though these tests give students a better chance to get accepted into top tier colleges, they are just a reflection of students’ achievements in order to show that students have challenged themselves to their limit.

“[Colleges] want to know that you can contribute something back… and if you go out and do wonderful things, then it just makes the university look better,” college and career specialist Barbara Lancaster said.

Overall, it is safe to say that these exams should not be a leading factor in determining which students will be accepted into Ivy League, and many colleges are beginning to consider this fact.