If you’re like me, you waited until the very last minute possible to sign up for the SAT. And even when you did, you maybe sat through one painful practice test. If you’re also like me, you probably didn’t get above a 1800 on the SAT to your parent’s disappointment. Well I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t give a rat’s ass. Aptitude tests began with a simple idea: a way to measure the ability of individuals in a standardized way. It seemed like a perfectly useful tool for society, but here’s why a perfect idea bore imperfect fruit.
A real measure?
Aptitude tests are supposed to measure someone’s ability, but do they really measure ability? Consider the most famous aptitude test, the IQ test. The IQ test is designed to test a person’s IQ or intelligence regardless of language, race, gender, age, or any other variable. After the test you’ll be placed on a scale of 0-200, with anything under 70 being considered mental retardation and anyone with a number over 145 being considered “genius”. We can only dream.
However, various studies have shown that IQ test, while may accurately measure intelligence and reasoning, does not measure future success. In fact, it has been shows that a sample of those considered average measures equal in terms of success with a sample of those considered genius. So whether you’re a “dumb dumb” sitting at a measly 90 or a brainiac rating at a 145, your ability and chance to be successful remains equal.
It may be painful, but think back to those not-so-glorious high school days. As you arrived at school, ready to be forced to share your average SAT scores, your friends were huddled in a group. There stood your idiot friend boasting a 2100 and your jaw became permanently unhinged.
Now snap back to reality. That good, but slightly slow friend of yours is on his sixth year of college. You, you’re struggling to be an adult, but you graduated in four cum laude. It seems that all is right with the world again. So why did he score higher than you on the SAT, when clearly you are much much smarter. The answer, again, is clear: These tests are innately flawed.
Aptitude tests can be a great tool in many situations, but they are not a death sentence. Scoring low on the SAT does not mean that you are not meant for greatness or a successful career. Sometimes you simply didn’t prepare well enough. Some people simply are not great test takers. But, too often these tests measure very specific skills and abilities and we do not live in a specific world.
Aptitude tests have turned out to be just that, tests. There measure one thing at one time for one person. Their implications are so limited that they become almost worthless. You can look at someone’s SAT score and their IQ test and your guess on where they would be 10 years later wouldn’t be any stronger. Sounds like good news for all of us, especially the slackers.