5 Things The SAT Does NOT Measure Or Predict

Intelligence? Please.

5 Things the SAT Does NOT Measure Or Predict

People give way too much credence to the Redesigned SAT test (and the ACT, for that matter). Once SAT test scores are released, high-scoring students will tout their scores in the hallways at school and receive congratulations from teachers, parents and friends. But the students who didn't score in the upper registers will often feel ashamed, upset, or even depressed by the scores they've received with no one to correct their misguided feelings.

This is ridiculous!

There are many things the SAT does not measure or predict. Here are five of them. 

01
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Your Intelligence

The SAT Does Not Measure Your Intelligence
Getty Images | Sherbrooke Connectivity Imaging Lab (SCIL)

Your favorite teacher told you. Your counselor in school told you. Your mom told you. But you didn't believe them. When you took the SAT test and scored in the bottom 25th percentile, you still attributed your score to your intelligence or lack thereof. You told yourself it was because you were stupid. You just didn't have the brains to do well on this thing. Guess what, though? You're wrong! The SAT does not measure how intelligent you are. Experts disagree whether intelligence can be measured at all, in truth. The SAT measures, in some ways, the things you've learned in school and in other ways, your ability to reason. It also measures how well you take a standardized test. There are a hundred different ways to score poorly on the SAT (lack of sleep, improper preparation, test anxiety, illness, etc.). Don't believe for one second that you're not very smart because your test score isn't what it could have been. 

02
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Your Ability as a Student

The SAT does not determine how good of a student you are
Getty Images | David Schaffer

 You can get a 4.0 GPA, rock every single test you’ve ever taken and still score in the bottom percentiles on the SAT. The SAT does not measure how great of a student you are. Some college admissions officers use the test to get a general idea of how well you'll fare in their college if they were to accept you, but it does not demonstrate your ability to take notes, listen in class, participate in group work and learn in high school. Sure, you'll probably score better on the SAT if you have experience taking multiple choice tests – that's a skill you can definitely hone – but your lack of success on the SAT does not mean you're a poor student. 

03
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Your University's Credibility

Harvard
Getty Images | Paul Manilou

 According to FairTest.org, there are more than 150 colleges and universities that do not require SAT scores for admissions and nearly 100 others that limit its usage in admissions decisions. And no, those aren't the schools that you wouldn't want to admit to attending. Names? Try these: Bowdoin University, California State University, Kansas State, DePaul, Wake Forest, Loyola, Middlebury, etc. These are truly fantastic schools! Your SAT score does not enhance or diminish your school's credibility in any way if you've been accepted. There are just some schools that have decided that your SAT score doesn't really matter. 

04
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Your Career Choice

Your future career is not determined by the SAT
Getty Images | Hero Images

 It's funny. When I do the charts for GRE scores based on the fields in which people are interested in going into (Agriculture, Mathematics, Engineering, Education), the scores tend to go up based on the levels of "brains" people assume they'd need for a particular position. For instance, people who are interested in majoring in Home Economics, let's say, are scoring lower overall than those people who are interested in going into Civil Engineering. Why is that? It's an intended major, not an actual one. Your test scores, whether for the GRE or the SAT, should not predict the degree you'd like to obtain, and ultimately, the field in which you'd like to work. If you really want to go into Education, but your test scores are much lower or much higher than others interested in your same career, then apply anyway. Not everyone scoring in the top quartile on the SAT will be doctors and not everyone scoring in the bottom quartile of the SAT will be flipping burgers. Your SAT score does not predict your future career. 

05
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Your Future Earning Potential

The SAT does not determine your earning potential

Scores of very wealthy people never even made it to college. Wolfgang Puck, Walt Disney, Hillary Swank, and Ellen Degeneres are just a few of the wealthy people who either dropped out of high school or never made it past the first semester in college. There are billionaires who never graduated from college: Ted Turner, Mark Zuckerburg, Ralph Lauren, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs to name a few. Needless to say, one tiny insignificant test is not the end-all, be-all of your future earning potential. Sure, your scores follow you around sometimes; there are some interviewers who will ask you for them in an entry-level job. However, your SAT score will not be as instrumental to your future ability to live the life you want as you believe it is right now. It just won't.