“…Did We Have to do the Study Guide?”

All about test day at Helena High

Marcus Roberts, Head Writer

Whether it’s the SAT or a pop quiz in English class, every test taken in high school can affect a student’s future in one way or another. Even if they all seem the same, not every test has the same purpose and style. According to www.goodluckexams.com, there are nine different categories of tests: diagnostic, placement, progress/achievement, proficiency, internal, external, objective, and subjective tests.

Sometimes, in the beginning of a class, a student is required to take a placement test or diagnostic test for the teacher to know more about the student as far as knowledge goes. This is very useful because many people prefer different methods of learning, organizing, and studying. For Ben Vince, a sophomore at Helena High, these tests are grueling but very necessary. “I don’t think many people if anyone likes to take a test especially if it’s right off the bat,” Ben says, “but tests at the beginning of a class aren’t very nerve-racking because they usually aren’t graded and it’s probably true that most other people know just as little as you do. Especially if it’s a new subject that is new to you”.  

During a semester, the most common and frequent kinds of tests are progress and achievement tests. These tests are designed to track what a student really knows, and what they have learned in short periods of time. “I hate these even more than the semester tests,” Jacob Manibusan, a Junior at Helena High, says. “They are always the most points that count toward your final grade and they really start to add up over time. And it makes you try to understand notes and homework because you really need to know what is going on and how to do stuff or else you’re not going to get a good grade on [the progress and achievement tests]”. 

Another major kind of Internal test that the school has you take are semester tests. Depending on the teacher or class, these do not always come in the form of a written test. Some classes may have the student simply complete a project or large assignment for a last opportunity for a large sum of points; helpful for the students that are interested in ending the semester with the highest grade possible. 

Finally, the external tests that are not required by the high school. These, for most people, are the ACT and SAT. Usually taken in the junior year, tests like these are commonly known as the longest, and most grueling tests taken while in high school. To prepare for these tests, Mrs. Hess, a psychology teacher at Helena High, describes the importance of doing the most before these tests as possible. “Every test you should study early for,” she says, “and communicating to a teacher or counselor are good ideas”. 

Although they each take over three hours to complete, both the ACT and SAT are tests that take serious concentration and mental stamina to finish on time. Not including optional essay questions, the SAT presents 154 questions, the ACT: 215. Both tests have limited amounts of time a student can use to complete each section of English, Writing, Reading, Science, and Math. In addition, a student taking either test should pace themselves by answering each question in under a minute to finish on time. Even though tests like these can worry students, Mrs. Hess ensures that nobody should stress before, during, and after tests. “I think your experience taking tests in the past will definitely help you concentrate for that long of a time on the SAT and ACT, so [students] should be fine while they take their tests.” 

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