Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Numbers Games

“Look, a 5 on analytical writing turns out 73% percent below,” I complain to my brother, reading numbers off an old GRE score report. “I hate standardized writing. They always score me horribly. But I guess if the score doesn’t go above 6 people can’t get too high a percent. Standardized writing tests are such a joke.”

“No kidding,” Tom agrees. “On my SAT writing section I only did so-so, and I knew a lot of really smart people who scored horribly. I hate to say it, but the kids who score the best are the ones who learn enough to write by formula, but not go past that.”

“I know, seriously. We didn’t have a writing section for the SAT, but for the SATII I scored, like, 5 out of 10. Awful. I aced the verbal, anyway. 98% below.” I cast a critical eye back over my scores. “Bleh, math’s just not my thing. 74% below... At least I’m average.”

“Um, actually…”

“Is that below average? I mean, I guess technically if it’s 75…”

Tom gives me an exasperated look. “Come on, Nix. Think about it.”

I ponder.

“Percent below, Nix.”

“Well, yeah, 74% of people scored below me… oh, wait! 50% would be average.”

“I was going to be really concerned if you didn’t get that.”

“So I guess I did okay,” I say, smiling.

“I’d say you did better than that. 74% is actually pretty good.”

“Is it ironic that I screwed up my own quantitative score?”

“I think it’s ironic that you didn’t know how good you were at math because you did the numbers wrong.”

“I told you math wasn’t my thing.”