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Braintree High Student Press

Braintree High Student Press

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Timers and Tests: No Time To Waste

Timers+and+Tests%3A+No+Time+To+Waste

Testing is-and forever will be-a core part of the school curriculum. Not only is it a benchmark of student knowledge, but it often makes or breaks a major bulk of a student’s grade. Tests-albeit debatably-are not really unfair or difficult, so long as a student has studied and is familiar with the material. There is one aspect to some tests, however, that is a major thorn in the side of whatever student is taking it: the timer. 

 

Tests are timed. It makes sense; after all, you can’t have infinite time on a test. But on a test, what matters is having the necessary time to complete it in the first place. Most tests tend to take only a chunk of, or at worst, a whole class period. But in the cases of much larger tests, such as AP Exams, Mid-Years, or Finals, time limits cause a large number of issues that massively impact a student’s test-taking ability. 

 

Most lengthy exams range from two and a half hours to a whole half of a school day. In many cases, these time limits sometimes are just not enough. These major exams are much bigger than any simple unit review or course check-in: they often require the student to use a bulk of their knowledge. Ample time is needed to complete them, but ample time is often not provided.

 

This is further compounded on AP exams. On exams for classes like History and English, students have to write anywhere from two to three essays in less than three hours. While the student’s ability to formulate these essays without prep is an excellent skill to have, the timer is highly restrictive, and makes it so these exams are testing the endurance of a student’s hand and mental fortitude more than they are properly testing a student’s writing and critical thinking skills.

 

The timer, in and of itself, is a major stressor on students mentally. It puts pressure on the mind, and muddies one’s ability to think clearly. It can make students overlook important details or miss things that would otherwise be noticed with time. Students enter with a disadvantage one would not need to prepare for. 

 

In what real world context would students need to formulate a synthesis essay in forty five minutes? 

 

If the time limit was, at the bare minimum, loosened, students would be able to use their skills far more effectively and have a far clearer head going into the exam. Timers on tests shouldn’t be used as a challenge for students, at least not to this extent. The student should have an environment where they can properly use their skills, not one where their skills are actively dampened.

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About the Contributor
Antoine Powell, BHSN Podcast Host, BHS News Reporter
Antoine Powell is a student of the Class of 2025 who has so far served BHS News for one semester. He writes news articles and photo galleries, as well as aiding with the Student Press Podcast. He also helps out with the Theatre Guild productions and the literary magazine Stone Soup.

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