The BYU testing center

Nathan has been a student at BYU for a year now. The other night, I mentioned the “MOA café”.

“Moa?” he asked.

His BYU and my BYU are different.

This was my BYU:

  1. I lived in dorms on campus as a freshman.
  2. I walked or bussed to campus from nearby apartments the other years.
  3. I met friends at places to eat around campus: MOA café, the Tanner Building paninis, etc.
  4. I was single.
  5. I attended BYU wards, on campus.
  6. I had classes strewn throughout buildings: running from the JKHB to the JSB.
  7. We still had the Smith Family Living Center, SFLC, which people pronounced syphilis.
  8. I didn’t really use campus parking.
  9. I used campus facilities: library, organ practice rooms, language lab, computer labs, printers, library, intramural sports, the gym, library, and the library.
  10. I used the testing center.

This is Nathan’s BYU:

  1. He still lives in Salt Lake.
  2. He drives his car down for a full day of classes once a week.
  3. He might grab lunch in the Wilk, but hasn’t heard of or been to the MOA café.
  4. He is married and has a kid.
  5. He attends our family ward back in Salt Lake where at least he’s not in the bishopric anymore. (Shh, don’t tell people.)
  6. All of his classes are in one building, and even the same room. All. Day. Long.
  7. They tore down the SFLC and built a fancy new humanities building.
  8. He uses campus parking, but it’s for GRADUATE STUDENTS.
  9. He has not used any other campus facilities, really.
  10. And he has not even HEARD of the testing center.

Which gets me to the thoughts of my blog today: the BYU Testing Center.

Wikipedia told me that it’s the largest college testing center. Ever. (Or in the nation, but ever sounds better.) It was the BYU library, once upon a time, and now its purpose is taking tests. Even when I was there, they had a webcam you could check on to get an idea of how long the wait is. It was like checking the wait times for a ride at Disneyland.

Except you weren’t getting on Splash Mountain.

You were going to spew out memorized Shakespeare, Church history, biological anatomy of a bee, or an essay on feminist literary theory.

A few interesting things about this amazing testing center:

  • You can pay a late fee, if the professor allows it
  • If you forget to bring a pencil, you can buy one at the entrance
  • They had razors there for boys that forgot to shave that day
  • When I first started using it, you waited for a ticket or receipt to print out with your test score at the exit
  • That was replaced with a TV displaying an electronic feed of test scores by student ID at the exit (ooo, technology)
  • During finals, the testing center also set up “satellite” centers in the JSB, Wilk, etc
  • And yet, during finals, the lines were insane
  • I am not being extreme when I say insane
  • See this (poorly made) YouTube video as proof
  • I never used the upstairs room where they played quiet music out of wall-mounted speakers
  • I often saved my study time for standing in line
  • I always wished I’d brought a camping chair with me for the long line
  • Eventually I just took all of my tests after 8:00 pm when the line was usually shorter

Wikipedia also told me that they have 650 desks in the large, main testing room. I wonder how many hours I spent in that room throughout my BYU life. Harry Potter should have had a testing center at Hogwarts. A magic testing center.

And for a third YouTube video link, here’s Divine Comedy’s testing center sketch.


  1. Ahh, thanks for that blast from the past! I’m feeling a bit of anxiety just thinking about that place. And Harry Potter did kind of have a testing center, didn’t he, when he took exams in the Great Hall?

    I love your blog!


    1. So apparently I don’t remember much from reading Harry Potter. I blame… having a baby. But wouldn’t it be great of the great hall wasn’t big enough for all of the kids so they had this crazy long line to get in for finals? And the first years all wait for like a week because all the other years know spells to help them jump the line. And then when they’re done, they sit on the chair for the sorting hat and it gives them their final grade, just before they walk out the door.


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