Being asked “how did you do?” or “what did you score?” can be incredibly awkward and uncomfortable. This is true if you are 12, 17, or even when you’re 36.
Whether you choose to share your scores is up to you.
My scores from high school were good enough for me to be accepted by Duke University early admission. My dad enjoyed pointing out that my acceptance coincided with Duke hitting its all-time high on the US News & World Report college rankings (tied for 2nd). That ranking assuredly had nothing to do with me or my test scores. My high school scores were good, but I believe my list of extracurricular activities was something like 9 pages long. I did (or at least tried) pretty much everything when I was in high school.
I had also taken the ACT when I was in 6th grade and again in junior high (it was called junior high back then). I remember my elementary school librarian teaching me SOH CAH TOA the day before the test and grinning like an idiot during the test when I used it to answer what would have otherwise been an incomprehensible question to the 12 -year-old me.
TIP’s communications director desperately wants me to share my old scores and my new scores.
But from my perspective, there’s no “win” for me there. If I were to get a perfect score (which did not happen the last time and I do not expect it to happen this time, either), then the optics of “adult with PhD provides evidence that he can perform well on college entrance exam” makes me seem pretty lame. Or, more likely, if I do poorly, then sharing that with the world isn’t great either. There is no score that makes me look good. Plus, this is a true process story.
I’m writing this for the journey, not for the score. But I know this is not the case for most others taking the SAT. Hence this advice:
What do you do when asked?
Personally, my response to this question is everyone’s least favorite answer: it depends. Some people may not care if the world knows. Others may want to keep it private.
If someone asks me how I did on March 5th right after the test, or weeks later when I get my score, I already know that I will reply with one of three responses:
- I think I did worse than I expected.
- I think I did about what I expected.
- I think I did better than what I expected.
I may give a reason for why options one or three is the case (e.g., I kept sneezing during the test, or the reading passage was from one of my favorite books). But I will not feel the need to give a number in my answer. If you can’t think of a reason why you don’t want to share your score, don’t worry. There’s actually some research that shows that simply using the word “because” followed by any reason can be quite persuasive. So even saying, “I prefer not to share my score because I want to keep it private” can be an effective way to cease further inquiry.
I know this isn’t the way everyone does it. One of my best friends in college made an AIM screenname (think Twitter handle, but before Twitter existed) that ended in 1600 because he had gotten a perfect score on the SAT. That was something he did on his own volition; he was ecstatic about his score. But if you don’t want to share your scores (and you don’t need a reason), then you should not feel like you have to do so.
And I won’t either.
**This post is part of a series called STUNT: SAT Taking to Understand the New Test.