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Standardized tests cause stress levels to spike

Submitted by Ricky Harris on January 19, 2012 – 4:23 pmNo Comment

Folks, I am extremely stressed out right now. If classes, work, family and things like that weren’t enough to keep me busy, now I’m preparing to apply for graduate school and graduate assistantships.

That has kept me busy enough.

And then I realized I have to take another standardized test, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). This brought back the memories of stress and headache from the high school days of the ACT.

I started looking at the layout of the GRE and its purpose. The purpose of the test is, in short, to provide a way to judge a person’s potential success or failure in a graduate program.

There are a few things wrong with this idea.

First, the way I answer questions on one specific day during one four hour period cannot, in any substantial way, judge how I will perform in courses that are spread out over months. Have you ever had a bad day where things just didn’t go your way? I know I have. What if your test day is one of those days? The GRE can only be taken once every 60-day period and the cost is a whopping $160 a pop. I’m a broke college kid. Give me a break.

Next, the array of sections and questions seem completely irrelevant. I am planning on getting a master’s degree in college student affairs. How will me being able to solve for x be able to judge how I am going to work well with students? If you have that answer, feel free to let me know. I know someone out there will have some kind of answer to defend the value of knowing algebra or gemoetry. I will anxiously await.

While I have all of this bad stuff to say about the GRE and other standardized tests, it is important for me to point something else out. Most graduate schools and programs use the GRE as one of many factors when selecting potential new students. They take into consideration GPA, job experience and things like that. So hearing that made me breathe a bit easier about the next couple of months. I’m hoping my lack of math skills and hatred of standardized testing don’t hold me back from getting in to a graduate program at a school that I want.

As I said earlier, I am very interested to hear opinions who disagree with me, so get those Letters to the Editor coming!

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