Written by: Jessica Lemond, Junior
Junior year is known to be the hardest high school year. The increased pressure to start making college decisions, increased class rigor, and all the pressures of being 16 are a lot for students to handle. It’s a big step into adulthood.
One of the most difficult junior experiences, however, is the two stressful weeks of The Michigan Merit Exam testing; with the SAT test considered the most difficult among them. This 4+ hour test consists of four long sections and covers grammar, math, reading, and extemporaneous writing.
The students’ scores are a determining factor for college admittance, as many colleges have a minimum SAT score requirement in their application process.
For most juniors, this test is a determining factor in the direction of their future, whether they enter college or go straight in to the workforce.
Junior Blake Kessler swims on Holly’s team in the winter and remodels cars in his free time. In addition, he is a hard working student. He has his sights set on Albian College, MSU, or U of M. How he scores on the SAT will determine whether he qualifies to apply.
Kessler is frustrated with the whole process. “I don’t think the tests should be necessary, because if colleges see that you’re applying yourself and getting good grades, I don’t understand why that’s not enough for them to consider you,” said Kessler.
Yet, Kessler knows the test is not only something he can’t escape, but it is also very important. He is hopeful his hard work and preparation will pay off, but also grateful for the SAT retake policy. “I know I’ll have to take the test more than once,” he said, “and I will keep trying until I get the scores I need.”
Junior Faith Thompson is still uncertain about the direction of her future. “My score really determines where I go to school and what jobs are available to me,” said Thompson. She is waiting to see how she does on the test.
Thompson also expressed her annoyance at the timing of the test, saying that it was a disadvantage to students. “We just came back after a week of vacation [spring break]. I feel like we’re going into it a little blind.”
Thompson felt as if she did her best. She is hoping a good score will keep her options open. She also expressed gratitude to the four teachers who ran the MME Prep class during second tri, because she knows their guidance helped her on the test. “Without that class, I don’t even know what I would be doing. It set up a good system and gave us good tactics for taking the test.”
There is another important test that is part of the MME series. For junior Erich Greene, how he scores on the Work Keys will make the biggest difference in his life. Greene wants to be an air traffic controller for the FAA. Although he plans to go to college in order to obtain his needed training, he knows that his potential employers will be most interested in his Work Keys scores.
“I’m glad that’s the most important test for me because it was the easiest one,” said Greene. “The questions were very logical, and I think it’s a good assessment of people’s job skills.”
He does wish, however, that there were more depth to the screening process for potential college students and employees. “Some people are not good test takers, but are super good at hands-on tasks, and others are really good at taking tests, but aren’t as skilled in real situations.”
Many students agree with Greene’s statement, wishing that there were a more individualized way of gathering information about students. Thompson said, “I wish that they could assess everyone differently based on their skills and career goals. I’m pretty good at being artistic and creative, but social studies and sciences are not my strong suit at all.”
Junior Lauren Hackett, a student and athlete, agreed with Thompson and Greene. “I think the test is relied too heavily upon. It should definitely be taken under consideration by colleges, but should not be a strict basis for admission.”
It’s important to remember, no door to your future ever closes based on your Michigan Merit Exam scores. Based on the positive comments staff members gave to juniors in the days following the test, students realized this. They took the test seriously and tried their best. This proves juniors are putting their best foot forward on their journey to adulthood.