With the ACT or SAT, AP tests and Required Quarterly Assessments (RQA), it seems as if testing in high school never ends. Even with all these exams to study for, there is another type of testing some students are not aware of: subject tests.
SAT subject tests are hour-long exams that allow students to showcase their knowledge in specific subjects. They are considered by most colleges when deciding whether or not to admit students and can be used to show colleges what a student excels in as well as hint at their chosen major. Even though these tests may seem straightforward and reasonable, subject tests are simply nothing more than extra tasks that students feel obligated to do prior to graduation. They do nothing but add to the massive amounts of stress that students are already dealing with, especially since CHS does not stress their importance as much as they should.
According to a Feb. 2014 American Psychological Association survey, during the school year, the stress level clubs, students also balance tests, quizzes and projects along with AP tests in May and, eventually, the ACT or SAT. This load is already tough to handle; students do not need extra tests thrown at them for the sake of appealing to colleges.
While important, subject tests are not stressed as much as the ACT or SAT by colleges.While MCPS schools issue PSATs and mock ACTs for students to take, there are no practice subject tests options for students to choose from, there are very limited options options for students that do not want to take language subject tests. While there are 12 different language tests including French, Chinese and Italian, there are only two or three options for science, history and math, and only one option for English. Since students are recommended to take the test corresponding with a possible major they are interested in, if students are not interested in language, there are not a very large array of other tests to choose from.
Furthermore,these hour-long tests are yet another thing students have to spend money on. Students are already investing in many other school-related resources such as tutors, AP and ACT or SAT prep books, and more. The subject tests almost force students to buy prep books, which cost anywhere from $12 to $15 each, not to mention the $26 register fee with $21 per additional test and added fees such as change, waitlist or late registration.
Subject tests can be a great way for students to show their strengths on their applications. The tests are also very flexible; students are allowed to take up to three in one sitting and can change the subjects they take the day of the test. It is also cheaper than the ACT or SAT, less time consuming and easier.
However, these positives do not change the fact that subject tests are just another thing to study for and stress over. Students should be able to breathe through all the work and testing they have to do throughout their time in high school. School and standardized tests are hard enough; students do not need subject test further complicating things.