Why Tests Shouldn’t be Timed

As we all know, taking tests is a part of school life. Pretty much every class you take requires you take tests or quizzes. Teachers use test scores to measure how well you understand a topic that they are teaching. The main problem with taking all these tests is that the majority of them are timed tests. Normally you only have an hour to an hour and a half to take a test. Most tests take the whole class period, and teachers expect you to finish it without any extra time. For some classes this is fine, but for other classes such as math, or any AP courses, you need more time. I do not think that your grade should be measured on how fast you can do something but instead how well you do something. Tests should be able to show your thinking and how well you know something, not how fast you can write it down. 

Many people agree that tests shouldn’t be timed and have even done research to explain why. Small Pond Science explains that “in the long run, the pressure of timed assessments takes the joy away from learning, and also hinders the ability to learn effectively by affecting how a perceives their own ability. The anxiety of testing is amplified when the stakes of the exam are higher when the cost of not doing well is steep.” This means that timed tests increase student’s anxiety and stresses them out more than is needed. It also takes away any fun there is in learning because now they have to worry about finishing their tests on time instead of actually enjoying what they learned. Students now have the pressure of not doing well and not finishing, which can lead to a really bad grade. Tests are stressful enough; students do not need the extra stress of worrying about having enough time to finish the test. 

One teacher, Graham Whisen, says, “By eliminating the possibility that a student ran out of time, I can be more certain that the student’s overall achievement on the test will more closely reflect their actual level of knowledge/skill.” This explains how even some teachers agree that tests that are not timed will show how much you actually know. The grade that you earn after taking an untimed test will reflect on whether or not you know the subject. If you have as much time as needed then you will even be able to go back through your test and check over your work and answers, ensuring that you can try to catch any mistakes.

The SAT and ACT are also really big timed tests that you have to take in high school. Those tests can affect whether or not you will get into certain colleges. Both of those tests measure what you know in only an hour or forty-five minutes for each subject. This is clearly not enough time to finish these tests. Students should have multiple hours to complete these tests, so they are not rushing through and making mistakes. Many students choose to retake these tests so that they can get a better score. Sometimes the first time they take it they do not always have enough time to get through all the questions efficiently. 

Overall, students do better when there are no time limits on tests. They do not have extra stress on whether or not they will finish the test on time. Having enough time to finish the tests will end up helping teachers know whether or not students actually know the subject too. Therefore teachers should provide as much time as needed, and standardized tests should not be timed. Do you think tests should be timed? 

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