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Syger's avatar

Is it normal to feel like a waste of a person after seeing ACT/SAT scores?

Asked by Syger (1384 points ) January 5th, 2010

I’m godawful at math and taking standardized tests as it is and recently I got to see my scores on the ACT and SATs, and they’re not what my mother or girlfriend would be too happy with, so initially I’m feeling like absolute garbage and pretty much just wanting to crawl in a hole and die, my interests and values have nothing to do with math or meaningless memorization. My mother was extremely disappointed in my first ACT score of somewhere in the lower 20’s, my girlfriend never asked about it.
But today I got to see the scores of the retaken ACT and my first SAT, 24 and 1440 respectively. I just sunk and hate myself far more than I ever have because my girlfriend has come down on me multiple times for not having an exact outline of what I want to do with my life (despite her not really knowing either) and just seeing those numbers make me feel like I’m rather worthless, even though I could care less about what silly numbers apparently dictate my value as a person.

Help? D:

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29 Answers

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

I got a 24 on the ACT’s and I definitely don’t feel like a waste of a person. Matter of fact, I thought a 24 was a pretty decent score, it yielded me a $1,000 scholarship.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Don’t worry, I scored 1580 on my SATs 35 years ago. I’m still a waste of space and oxygen.

Snarp's avatar

What scale is the 1440 out of ? In my day the high was 1600, but I’ve heard there’s a third part now and its a 2400 max? Anyway, you test scores don’t define you, if you want to go to college you’re going to have to find another way to be competitive: extracurriculars, a good essay, good grades, a good interview. But you shouldn’t feel like a waste. That said, it’s perfectly normal to feel that way to some extent.

Austinlad's avatar

They’re just numbers. Don’t allow them to define who you are and what you can do.

westy81585's avatar

I got a 31 on the ACT, and was nowhere near the top 10 of my class (barely top HALF)

Our valedictorian got a 22, and went into college almost a junior because of all the college credit she had earned.

As long as you do well enough to get into the school you want to go to, they don’t matter for anything. And they’re hardly an indication of intelligence or how well you will do in school.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Snarp Old style max was 1600.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@westy81585 Has the scale of the ACT’s changed? You say that a 31 was barely in the top half of your class, this wasn’t the same for me. My 24 put me in about the top 20%.

Anyways @Syger I scored the same as you, and recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from college. I don’t think you need to worry so much.

DominicX's avatar

It’s normal to be disappointed in the scores, but it depends on what you want to do after high school. If you want to go to Brown, those scores aren’t going to cut it. But the test scores aren’t the only thing that determine admission to college. You have to have grades, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation (for private schools). You can take the SAT again, right? If you get a chance to take it again, I’d recommend getting some tutoring help. You can’t give up because you can improve scores, I’ve seen it happen. I tutored my friend for SATs and his score improved by about 300 points (1760 to 2040 or so). Doing practice SAT tests really helped him and it helped me as well (went from 2150 to 2280). And the non-math parts of the SATs aren’t really about memorization, they’re about interpreting passages and grammar, but as most people will tell you, the math section and the critical reading section are the most important to colleges. I’m a little biased because I strongly preferred the SAT over the ACT, but that’s just me.

Syger's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities Believe the ACTs are out of 36 now. Also, grats on 10k bro

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@Syger I think it was out of 36 for me too. Oh well.

Syger's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities I count 4 digits when I clicked “Great Answer” and it’s showing 5 now. 1k = 1000, yes?

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@Syger I thought you were referring to the 1K scholarship I posted earlier. I then realized my mistake and edited. Thank you!

MissAusten's avatar

My initial reaction to this is that you feel bad about your scores because other people aren’t happy with them. Try not to stress, and tell your girlfriend to back off a bit. She should be supportive of you, not driving you to do what would make her happy in life, or what fits her image of what your life should be.

If the schools you are looking at will accept your scores, you’re fine. Apply to those schools, and even apply to some that have slightly higher standards. Test scores really aren’t everything, and a college application will also include other activities as well as your grades. Deciding where to go to school, what to major in, and how to reach your goals isn’t a one-time thing. You can transfer schools, change your major, develop new interests, take a new direction, at any point in your life. I know right now it may seem like the rest of your life is riding on things like SAT scores and college applications. The pressure can be intense, and keeping perspective will help you get through it.

aprilsimnel's avatar

You have to disregard your mother and girlfriend and commune with yourself. What do you want to do? What are you interested in? As much as Mom and GF care for you, they can’t dictate to you how to live your life.

Don’t worry about your scores. You’ll still be able to get into a good school, if you want. Ask your counselor for help.

mass_pike4's avatar

hey don’t worry about it man. I got a 19 on my ACT and only took it once. I got a 1420 on my SAT and I got into a respectable college. I was in your shoes once too. I was really concerned as well. If you are worried because your parents/girlfriend are disappointed tell them you are not worried about it because it is a standardize test. Some people just do not do well on them. I’m sure you are a bright kid. I was an honor student but I just did poorly on standardized tests. It is really no big deal. Just continue to do well in school with all your courses.

westy81585's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities No the scale hasn’t changed, read my post again more carefully. I scored a 31, but was not in the top half of my class, as in overall grades. In other words the test is not a bearing on how you will do/do do in school. I did ridiculously well and was barely in the top half of my class. My valedictorian scored a 22.

mass_pike4's avatar

ya my girlfriend at the time in hs was ranked third in our school of 274 students and she only got a 22 on her ACT. She went on to college at Connecticut College and graduated in 3 years with a 4.0 gpa

lonelydragon's avatar

It’s normal to be disappointed, but you needn’t feel like a waste. As others have pointed out, a 24 is not a bad score, and it won’t necessarily limit your ability to get into college.

Most importantly, a less-than-breathtaking SAT score has little to no bearing on your intelligence. It just means you’re not very good at math (which you knew already). Being a poor mathematician does not mean you are unintelligent overall. There are plenty of skills and abilities that the test does not measure. Now that you’ve gotten the big nasty tests over with, don’t sweat them anymore. Focus on practicing the activities that come naturally to you.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

@mass_pike4 I got the same SAT score. High five!

talljasperman's avatar

yes I felt bad for getting a 64% average…But I was relived that I didn’t get any lower…I am going to rewrite my exams in the summer and then I will see what gifts the future holds.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Take a deep breath, slowly, now let it out… ok, guess what, unless you were depending on those scores to get you into a particular college (which your question suggests you weren’t) or secure some $$$ for said college, in about 12–16 months they will be completely irrelevant. You’ll be off in college concerned with credits, papers, and next weekends party. No one will care, including you, about the scores, they’re just “placement” stats that help colleges weed through the insane amount of applications they receive each year. My advice, take your scores match them to some colleges and start thinking about what classes you want to get under your belt in your first year. Oh and as to “what you want to do with your life” yeah, I can’t tell you how many people (successful and otherwise) I’ve met with college degrees who still don’t have an answer to that question. BTW I’d also start thinking about what you want in a woman too, anyone who’s opinion of you is based on their assessment of your comparative status in test taking and pre-determined life planning skills is not likely to be someone who’s worth your time.

njnyjobs's avatar

Plumbing or electrical course at the local community vocational school is not a bad idea. In fact, plumbers make better money than most pencil-pushing or keyboard typing office workers with bachelor’s degrees out there.

mass_pike4's avatar

@Mike_Hunt: Verry Nice! High Five!

sparkytheoutlaw's avatar

well, if your a waste of space for your scores….i am even more so. I got a 22 on my ACT twice….figured i couldnt do better is i got the same score twice. :D enjoy what you got,,its good better than i did. :D

Snarp's avatar

I want to encourage you not to think of yourself as being “bad at math”. I always thought I was somehow naturally bad at math, and my math score on the SAT was pretty darn bad. I failed algebra 2 in high school. I went to community college and proceeded to fail college algebra. I even tried to study for that class, for the first time in my life. Fast forward 15 years and I went back to college. I had to get through a three quarter sequence of probability and statistics and another three quarters of advanced subject specific probability and statistics. I also took several quarters of computer science, which involves more math than most people think. I took all these classes with people who not only passed college algebra, but took more advanced algebra, trigonometry, and calculus, none which had I taken. To make a long story slightly longer, I got As in all those classes, in spite of having to do extra work to make up for my shortcomings. In fact, in those classes I suddenly started to understand things like why the answer to this problem was a curve with that shape, something that had troubled me in algebra classes. What I discovered was that I was actually good at math, I just hadn’t been taught it properly or been personally motivated enough to make up for the teaching. Don’t give up on anything or assume that any test score or class grade alone can tell you what you can be good at.

Snarp's avatar

Are you guys all talking about a different scale on the SAT than I had? I had a 1210 out of 1600, which was good enough to get into most colleges. The test has gotten easier over the years, but a 1400 out of 1600 should have recruiting letters landing in you mailbox, not making you feel worthless. Please tell me this is on a different scale?

aprilsimnel's avatar

@Snarp, the top SAT score is 2400 now.

Snarp's avatar

@aprilsimnel Ah, I thought so. This all makes much more sense now.

eeveegurl's avatar

No. Don’t feel like you’re a waste of anything.

I tutor kids for the SAT, and the only thing it measures is how good you are at taking the SAT. There are lots of ways they try to “trick” you, and as long as you know the proper tips and methods, you’d do a lot better. There are bunch of simple rules that 9 times out of 10, will give you the right answer in the verbal section. (In fact, it always angered me a little that the rich kids that overpaid for SAT tuition always did so much better than the rest of us and killed the percentile ranking.)

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