Should standardized tests remain the primary way to impress colleges?

Mounties give their opinions on the SAT and ACT tests and share their concerns and recommendations for the tests.


The majority of the SAT and ACT tests consist of multiple choice questions where the testers fill in the circle of the answer they think is best.

Kate Tannenbaum, Features Editor

Are standardized tests really representative of intellect? Students all over the country have relied on SAT and ACT scores for college applications for decades. Although it is important for schools to determine what incoming students can handle, the discussion surrounding extending or abolishing time limits has recently become more active.

Many teachers and experts believe that the speed with which a student responds to a question represents their understanding of a topic. However, in Guy Montrose Whipple’s Manual of Mental and Physical Tests, he states, “speed is not the primary index of efficiency, as is borne out by the evidence that speed and intelligence are not very highly correlated.” Removing time constraints can allow students to develop in-depth and well rounded answers, while also decreasing stress levels.

Underclassmen took the PSATs on Wednesday, October 12. When asked what part of this process makes her most nervous, Gianna Scotto ‘24 said she worries about “the impact it can have on my future and how it can affect my applications.”

However, in recent years since the Covid-19 pandemic, many schools have adopted test optional policies. Maddie Etkin ‘23 feels that these policies help to reduce some of the pressure of performing well and she thinks they should continue.

“I think there’s so much more to a person than their test scores…it’s important for colleges to look at someone’s application based on their extracurriculars, their essays, and who they are as a person, not just how they test.” Etkin said.

However, Noelle O’Brien ‘24 says she still worries she will be penalized for not submitting her scores. Both girls agreed that eliminating time limits would reduce their stress levels substantially, since they would have time to double check and rethink answers.

Whether or not this can be achieved, research shows that it is important for students to let go of stress surrounding standardized tests in any way possible.

Sources: Whipple, Guy Montrose. Manual of Mental and Physical Tests: A book of Directions Compiled with Special Reference to the Experimental Study of School Children in the Laboratory or Classroom. Ayer Company Pub, 1910.