By: Esther Stern | Opinions  | 

It’s Not Me, It’s You; A Glance into Testing Locations

It was the necessary reduced distraction location for test taking for which, for years, I was accustomed. It is in those extra time rooms where there was nary a peep, for, after all, there were people taking exams. I knew of a reality in which the decorum of the test-taking room was a sanctified entity.

I had assumed, rather erroneously, that the rooms in which tests for “normal test-takers” were taken were just as hallowed as the extra time rooms I had known. This, I learned recently, was not the case.

The first offense commonly found in the test rooms is what I’d like to call “the pretest regurgitation.” This is when students go up to classmates and blurt out an endless stream of “MITOCHONDRIA - CHLOROPLASTS - CENTRIOLES;” almost always followed by “OH GOSH WHAT HAS CENTRIOLES?!!? Is it in plants? In animals? Is it going to save us from the next apocalypse? ARE WE ALL JUST ONE BIG CENTRIOLE AND WE DON’T KNOW IT?!” After many conversations asking people if they were peeved by this pretest regurgitation, I was met with a resounding yes. Herein, my friends, lies the first pillar of hypocrisy; some people think it is okay to perpetuate in this practice and shush people who do the same.

The second infringement is the talking during the test or during extended test-taking time. Talking is obnoxious. There is no way that people enjoy having their chances for success narrowed by people who aren’t thinking about others, especially if you start at a disadvantage because the people around you pregamed with their pretest regurgitation ad nauseum. This is not even including the fact that the talking is usually related to the test which would mean that you are inadvertently cheating by listening to their fascinating reasons as to why they selected answer choice B. This, my friends, is a borderline hilarious absurdity of the likes I was blessed not to have known until late. I’ve even seen a professor give a student extra time they didn’t need because of their peers’ disregard for the student’s focus while taking the test, which was astonishing.

The reason that these prevalent practices have not seeped into the decorum of the reduced distraction room is fairly clear to me. Many in the extra time room have been subject to people not caring about the fact that it can take them double the time to study, read the test, or even sit down. It is the keen awareness of the plight of their peers that prevents them from erring in the same way their fellow students have failed them in the past. While these reasons don’t excuse those without extra time from their disruptions, it does provide some understanding. It’s also possible that people outside the extra time room don’t care as much, and can bounce back from the distraction fairly quickly.

All suggestions for the basis of the reality of the incessant, student-caused distractions point to a meaningful conclusion and are some of the many reasons people continue to need reduced distraction locations. For me, this conclusion is two-fold. For the pretest regurgitation, I thank God there exists an extra time room. And to the pretest and test hockers I say, “it’s not me, it’s you.”