What's with the high GPA/low test deal?

<p>Please forgive me if this comes off as politically incorrect, but I really don't get people who aren't "good test-takers." Shouldn't intelligence--at least, in theory--mostly translate into a good ACT/SAT score? I've never heard of anybody getting out of a mediocre IQ score because they were poor test-takers--they just weren't intelligent enough to score highly.</p>

<p>Secondly, why does the CC community have this nasty habit of condemning high test/low grade splitters but placating (or, at least, trying to) those in an opposite situation?</p>

<p>As a person with fairly low test scores, but a high GPA, this is a bit offensive. You are clearly a person who is great at taking tests, and that's swell. Yay for you. However, a standardized test is not a measure of intelligence. All standardized tests measure is one's ability to realize what the test takers are asking, and respond to it. In the critical reading section of the SAT, for example, there are often numerous answers that are valid. Those who can deduce what the test takers want are more likely to get the answer correct. That's not intelligence. I took the SAT two times, the first time scoring a 560 on the writing section. The second time, I did nothing else to prepare and I scored a 750. This is only because I understood the format of the test and and what the test takers wanted as a response. </p>

<p>I do agree, however, that someone with high test scores and a low GPA shouldn't be condemned. People mess up in high school. It's normal. But 4 years of work that can actually be a representation of intelligence shouldn't be disregarded by low test scores.</p>

<p>Huh, it can happen on IQ tests as well, actually. It's called anxiety: it's quite hard to think when you constantly convince yourself that you're wrong or out of time from the start and that you need to find another solution to a problem.</p>

<p>Hmmm, this is intriguing. I was actually contemplating this topic today. I understand anxiety completely(had that problem on my 1st sitting), I understand running out of time and I understand not being familiar with the test and question types etc. </p>

<p>What confuses me is the fact that testing is a part of school (at least in my country) and to be able to achieve high grades you should be able to pass tests. Maybe it's not about being a bad test taker but rather about being unprepared for the SAT in aspects of time, strategy, emotions and a small amount of natural ability.</p>

<p>From what I've seen, people who credit high test scores as evidence of a "good test taker" and low scores to being a "bad test taker" tend to have low test scores.</p>

<p>The SAT was not intended to measure intelligence, but studies have shown that there is a very strong correlation between SAT score and IQ (if you know one you can usually get a pretty good estimate of the other).</p>

<p>Most people do not learn the academic skills found on standardized tests (such as grammar) through constant "drill and kill." Instead, such knowledge is absorbed gradually through their lifetimes unconsciously. Intelligent people have a higher ability to learn these skills and thus perform better on the SAT/ACT. This does not mean that improvement cannot come from studying, but lots and lots of effort must be made to achieve significant gains. Plus, after studying, you cannot say that you are the same person as before with all of your additional knowledge.</p>

<p>I'm not sure about your second question.</p>

<p>Seattle1234, what you are doing requires reasoning and logic, which are nearly universal among various definitions of intelligence.</p>

<p>Smiley19, not all schools are as difficult as others, so people who achieve high grades in one school might not necessarily do the same in another.</p>

<p>@aldfig, my point exactly. I went into the ACT basically cold (no Adderall like half of my classmates, no $$$ tutoring sessions, just a practice test) and did quite well; the vast majority of the kids with higher grade-points than me didn't do nearly as well, even with a great deal of studying. I just find it fascinating, frankly. There seems to be a disconnect between the skills needed to do well in school and those needed to perform well on standardized tests, when there theoretically shouldn't be one--if you're smart in one setting, you should be smart in another.</p>

<p>@smiley, you're totally right! If one is pulling off a 3.9 or 4.0 with a hefty schedule, shouldn't that mean one's intelligent enough to do well on a test that focuses on basic skills and test-taking abilities? But, I suppose, that might have something to do with how most American schools cater to those who study 'till 3 AM every night and do their homework like their lives depend upon it--not the kids whose potential isn't best displayed in such a setting.</p>

<p>Chess is highly correlated to intelligience, but for someone who does not know how to play chess, it has a zero correlation to his or her IQ. Similarily, if a person does not have the required knowledge for the SAT, such as knowing the required vocabulary or obscure grammar rules, the test will completely and utterly fail to predict anything useful other than that the person did not memorize useless stuff.</p>

<p>The thing is, most students are not taught how to play chess in school. However, they are universally exposed to the skills required for the SAT (vocabulary, grammar, math, etc).</p>

<p>My argument is that more intelligent students are able to acquire and retain such knowledge better than other students. If people were somehow able to memorize the definition of every English word, every single grammar rule, and every single formula and problem situation for math, then the SAT would pretty much be a pure achievement test. However, since most people do not spend hours daily drilling such information into their heads, the people that best acquire this knowledge are the more intelligent ones. Yes, one could get around this by constant, excessive studying, but since most people do not do this a strong correlation still exists between IQ score and SAT score.</p>

<p>*Note that I primarily use "SAT" in place of "standardized college admission test", I have not looked much into the ACT's correlation with IQ but it should be pretty similar to the SAT.</p>

<p>As for the disconnect between GPA and standardized test scores, there are several factors for that and it is difficult to come up with a blanket statement that explains everything.</p>

<p>@ aldfig0, I was not disputing the difficulty of schools but the statement about being a bad tester taker. IMO, if you have good grades, you had to take tests to achieve those high marks. People with a high gpa and low SAT should try to figure out what caused them to be unsuccessful instead of blaming the score on test taking abilities. </p>

<p>Plus, some people do excellently at difficult schools and don't always do well in the SAT. I have a friend who had excellent grades in school and if my school used to rank she probably would sit above me.There is no doubt about her intelligence. However, when she took the SAT, she was only able to score 1750. I simply intepreted her score as her being unprepared for the CR and WR sections as she was a strong math, business student and she was not an avid reader so she did not have an extensive vocabulary.</p>

<p>Then again, I very rarely read novels/scholarly magazines for pleasure and am nothing amazing at math/ grammar, but superscored have 750 CR, 800 M (one sitting) and 800 W in another sitting with 80/80 MC. I can honestly say that I've done very minimal studying, and recognize there is an undeniable general correlation between ranking and SAT score. </p>

<p>Overall, I respect those who have trouble with standardized testing and thus score lower but I think none decrying SAT-intelligence comparison would deny that smart students tend to do better (ceteris paribus or not).Smart students should also know how important SAT/ACT scores continue to be in college admissions and work to overcome their testing weaknesses, be it specified preparation or anxiety.</p>

<p>Smiley19:
Not all tests are the same. Just because a person performs well on certain types of tests doesn't mean that the same person would perform well on all tests.</p>

<p>Tests can be broadly classified into two types: achievement tests and aptitude tests. The tests in school that count towards a GPA lean more toward the achievement side (as they should). The SAT is more of an aptitude test. Achievement tests can be successfully passed by putting off studying until the last minute, especially if they cover a narrow range of subjects (for example, it is easier to cram for a test that covers what was learned the past week versus the past year).</p>

<p>There is a correlation between intelligence and SAT scores but I see it as more of the natural ability to think quickly and discern what questions are asking esp. with CR passages and Math(the math calculations, IMO, are not hard but the questions themselves are tricky). </p>

<p>@ Seahawks even if you don't read for pleasure, you had to come across the vocabulary at some point in your studies to be able to do well and understand the passages. My example of my friend is valid in this case, because in my country, we do English up to 10th grade and for 9th and 10th the focus is not on vocabulary. She didn't do subjects that allowed her to encounter a wide vocab. and she didn't read much either.</p>

<p>Also, if smart students(In terms of rank and GPA) think that their scores are based on test taking abilities then I doubt that a lot of them would spend time trying to overcome whatever their real weakness is. And some who try may never be able to pull the score up based on the way they are educated in school.</p>

<p>At the end of the day, only a small percentage of students will achieve a score >2100. Unfortunately, if someone's school focuses on memorization and regurgitation and encourages no sort of deductive reasoning or logic ( or merely a small bit), that person will not achieve a high score unless his/her experiences outside of school has developed his/his reasoning ability.</p>

<p>Edit : @ aldfig0 yes that is correct. I just don't like the blanket statement about being a bad test taker. Students should be able to find the root of their problem whether it's emotions, time etc.</p>

<p>
[quote]
The thing is, most students are not taught how to play chess in school. However, they are universally exposed to the skills required for the SAT (vocabulary, grammar, math, etc).

[/quote]

I highly doubt that unless you read a book each day.</p>

<p>" 'The thing is, most students are not taught how to play chess in school. However, they are universally exposed to the skills required for the SAT (vocabulary, grammar, math, etc).'</p>

<p>I highly doubt that unless you read a book each day."</p>

<p>I did last year (no lie) and it didn't help me much. Having a good vocabulary doesn't ensure success. The fancy words I learned never showed up on the SAT, and I got two vocab questions wrong (much to my chagrin). Reading helps more with passage-reading endurance (most of CR, but not sentence completion) and formulating complex sentences on your own and identifying errors (i.e the writing section). But one can never totally ensure vocab success on the SAT. </p>

<p>Hope for the best, prepare for the worst!</p>

<p>

Huh? What schools do not teach things like grammar, vocabulary, and math, or assign work that involves the aforementioned skills?</p>

<p>^ I agree with this. My point was, and I'm not going to pretend I wasn't a gifted student, but what you need to know to do well on the SAT is learned through your English and Math (simple algebra) classes all throughout your elementary, MS, and HS education. Small nuances like "using like vs. as grammar" are rarely tested and have little impact on your contextual performance. </p>

<p>I achieved scores in the top 1% of the nation with minimal preparation (and believe me, my asian mother was worried sick that I never did practice tests). Could I have gotten a 2400 by studying my ass off for two years? Yes, but being a good student in our education system did me just fine.</p>