from Standardized Testing by Matthew Onufrak

Genre: Dramedy

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Chris, a neurotic teen with dreams of being a doctor, finds themself overwhelmed when taking a standardized test.

(Warning: Using this monologue without permission is illegal, as is reproducing it on a website or in print in any way.)


I should really go up there and apologize... No—I shouldn't. I can't! He said I can't leave my seat... But I need to make sure he knows I wasn't doing that thing with my pencil on purpose! ...No, I need to focus.

(Chris sits up straight and attempts to focus. She manages this for a few seconds, before her head slowly lowers into her hands.)

I should have said something when he addressed me. Maybe I could say something after the test—but what would I say...? No—focus, Chris. Focus. It's like Mom always says: if you ever lose focus on the test, you're already a failure.

(Chris' momentary smile quickly turns into a look of terror.)

Oh god, I've already failed. No! Look at the question in front of you and answer—that's all it takes! This is the biggest test of your life, and that's all it takes. Just because you already got yelled at and you already lost focus, that doesn't mean it's all over...does it? Oh god, it does, doesn't it! This is the biggest test of my life and I can't even answer one question!

(Chris attempts to pause and take a deep breath.)

I want to be a doctor. I like helping people, and it's the best way I know how. But doctors are smart. Doctors are focused and cool-headed and don't get a C-plus in third period science. Doctors do well on tests, especially the most important tests. So I want to be a Chris. But I can't.

(As Chris continues, she begins slowly tapping her pencil again nervously, her volume increasing.)

This never would have happened if I had kept my pencil still. Or if I had studied last Tuesday, instead of helping Carson... Mom was right...maybe if I had studied I would be past the first question! Or maybe if I hadn't taken Ceramics as my elective. Dad was right, I should have taken computer science. Or maybe if I hadn't spent my summer volunteering at the homeless shelter. Or maybe if I had chosen more studious friends freshman year. Or maybe if I hadn't picked up that gum off the sidewalk after the eighth grade formal—oh, it always comes back to the gum!