The Dirty Secret Behind Standardized Tests

The Dirty Secret About Standardized Tests

The purpose of standardized tests is not to measure intelligence or future success. I know that’s what they claim, but don’t believe it. The purpose of a standardized test is to separate students along a spectrum to help school admissions counselors decide who gets to go to their school and who doesn’t.

To achieve this separation of scores, the test-makers have to create questions that are tricky. If they don’t, too many students would do well, so they have confusing wording and difficult-looking questions and things most students haven’t seen before. That’s why test questions are sometimes so confusing. It has nothing to do with measuring intelligence.

The downside is that the test-makers are good at being tricky. Boo. The upside is that there aren’t that many ways to be tricky, so if you practice with real exams, you’ll notice patterns and be prepared when you take the actual test. Yay!

Your success on this exam is about preparation, not intelligence. Study. Look at what you got wrong and figure out why so next time you’ll get it right. Do this, and you can beat any test you take.

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