Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

It’s lunchtime on a normal Tuesday. Then all of a sudden your peace and quiet are disturbed by a eager fellow classmate running to your table announcing that College Board has finally posted the scores for the November session of the SAT. After a few worries right after testing, that SAT had slipped down the ladder of preoccupation and was forgotten that same day. Now you are worried. Anxious. The world is spinning. (Just kidding, that was a bit too dramatic.) Now in our technology savvy world, you quickly pull out your phone to check your scores. Happy or sad, now you look up and sees the curious face of your friend. What did you get?

As the college admissions process becomes more competitive, applicants sometimes feel like they have to control every little part of the application. Standardized testing scores may even become a source of obsession for some, leading to kids making countdowns, waking up in the wee hours to check when the scores are first published, and agonizing over that one question that cost them the perfect score, as evidenced by College Confidential forums. The obsession oftentimes carries over to school, where in a competitive environment students seek markers with which to compare themselves with. For many, scores are sensitive information, just like grades or class rank, that are intended to be kept private. Needless to say, the common practice of peers asking for your SAT or ACT scores becomes a source of anxiety and jealousy. The act of publicizing and comparing scores might cause someone to feel inadequate even. So how do you deal with this?

Don’t Succumb to the Obsession

Instead of counting down for the release of the scores, relax. These numbers that you’ll soon see really will not be that big of a deal in a couple of year, or even months. Instead of sitting in front of the computer screen refreshing every few seconds, pick up your forgotten hobbies or go for a run. It is what it is. You already took the test, and so unless you can time travel, there is really nothing else for you to do. If you don’t make the scores a big deal, the score comparisons that might occur later will not influence you that much.

Answering the Inevitable Question

What should you do when someone approaches you with the intent of finding out your scores? Before you answer, consider how fast rumor spreads at your school. Is there the possibility of the entire school knowing your score by the end of the day? How important is it to you that your scores ought to remain confidential? If you feel uncomfortable answering, be direct about it and let him know that you have a right to keep the information private. You have control over your words so don’t let a little probing and peer pressure sway you. On the other hand, if you do want to share, take a few seconds to consider how others might feel about your scores. A great score might bring admiration as well as jealousy, so tread carefully. Don’t decide in the heat of the moment and do consider how you want to feel a few weeks down the line.

Floating Rumors Everywhere

Some of you may find yourself running into conversations about test scores everywhere you go for a day or two. Rumors circulate that so-and-so got a perfect score. Your head is about to explode from all this talk. Worse, originally you might have been very satisfied with your own performance, but upon hearing how well other people did, you begin to doubt yourself. Trust your own voice and feelings. In fact, although your peers sound like they know for certain that only certain scores are good enough, they are still quite clueless.

Put the score comparison conversations out of your mind and think about something else. Even better, divert the conversation to focus on more constructive issues. Your friends would probably appreciate the change of topic, too. If the conversations continue on social network sites, consider avoiding the website for the next couple of hours. Don’t let your attention be devoted into the petty numbers. Take it and move on.

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the author

Jinchen is a senior in high school from Texas. Often described as “bouncy”, Jinchen’s enthusiasm coats everything from deep philosophical discussions about amoebas to fresh homemade smoothies to new archeological digs. Jinchen can be spotted volunteering at the zoo or museum, planning new events, scribbling and doodling in her treasured journal, or staring at the sky and thinking about the meaning of life. She loves anything international affairs-related and has recently discovered her interest in engineering. Having lived on three continents, it is her dream to one day explore and travel around the world.

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