Navigating the testing center

The testing center does not have to be a bad experience. Employees are there to guide students through the process. Lindi Bone/UVU Review

Imagine a student named James. He has studied hard all semester for biology. He juggles a busy work schedule with class. He even sacrificed social events to prepare for this exam, so James feels good about his upcoming test.

Confident and ready, he arrives at the testing center.

“We’re closed,” an employee tells him. “You’re too late.”

“Closed?” James asks. “But, it’s my final!”

Although James is a fictional character, his experience mirrors a fairly common one among real-life students. Because some students arrive at the testing center without knowing what to expect, they often encounter obstacles and leave with a negative view of its policies.

“I hate that place,” one student said. “I have never had a good experience there.”

When further questioned, this student revealed that most of his problems came from lack of information.

Being educated in testing center policy is the first step to avoiding setbacks that many students encounter.

One of the most frequent questions that students have regards the testing fees. Many wonder why these fees aren’t covered by their tuition.

According to Finau Ioane, associate director of the testing center, fees allow the testing center to operate. The testing center’s costs are larger than its budget.

“Fees are what fund everything in our center,” Ioane said, and that includes things such as printing, computer costs and employee wages.

But she is also quick to point out that not every day is a fee day. She explains that the fee is only charged for the last third of the days the test is available.

For example, if a professor offers a test for nine days, the fee would only apply to the last three days.

“There are more free days than fee days,” she says. “And this policy was approved by student government.”

In order to fund the center, school officials had to choose between charging all students in their tuition or only charging some. Charging only those who come on fee days is a way to avoid charging a lot of students who may never even use the center.

“The way it is right now, it’s a choice,” Ioane said. The other way, it is not a choice and everyone pays into it.”

Another problem students often encounter is long lines and busy testing rooms. Although the staff can move through a 20-person line in only a few minutes, there are still ways to avoid busy times.

Sorensen suggests avoiding taking a test the day before a holiday.

“We’re always going to be busier the last day before a holiday,” Sorensen said, “like the Saturday before Labor Day, or the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Students want to take their test so they can get out of town.”

Weekday mornings have the least amount of traffic. If a student can squeeze a test into his or her class schedule during the first few mornings of the week, getting into the testing center should be a breeze.

With this kind of information, students like our fictional friend James will not have to suffer testing center headaches anymore.

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