At the end of my sophomore year, I made plans to take my first SAT subject test: the chemistry test. My parents promised me a new road bike for a perfect score, and thus it became my prime goal to obtain that glorious 800.
I began to study a few months in advance, long before many of my friends had even registered. I bought over three different prep books, and spent a great deal of time studying and sweating over multiple practice tests.
It got worse as finals rolled along. I gave the SAT test precedence, which resulted in some poor test scores. The final week before the SAT, I couldn’t sleep from the stress and worry that I wouldn’t meet my goal. Suddenly it wasn’t even about the shiny new road bike, but having this perfect score under my belt.
The day of the test, I was incredibly worried and upset. Without a doubt I didn’t do my best. When the scores finally rolled in weeks later and it was confirmed that I didn’t get the score I wanted, I felt completely depressed.
It wasn’t so much the score itself, but my idea that I would never be able to succeed at anything at all. I felt that something I had spent so much time on should be perfect, and since there were much harder things to come, how could I possibly succeed at those? I felt that anyone else in my shoes could have gotten the score with my level of studying.
Eventually, I reached a point where I felt I should just give up. Though my friends told me not to worry, I still couldn’t feel okay about my score. Finally, I broke the news to my dad, which I feared would be the end of whatever pride they felt about me.
Surprisingly, we had a talk about my accomplishments, and he told me that a score, a simple number, isn’t the most important thing. The real importance was what I had learned about the subject.
After some discussions with my dad I realized that I do understand and remember the subject well. Now, for the future, I plan to keep in mind the real meaning of these standardized tests, and what is truly important.