I was not a great student in high school. I did well enough so that everyone left me alone, but I was much more interested in being social than
with academics in studying.*
This is picture of me with my dear friend Martha McPhee right around the time I first took the SATs in 1982.
I did so horribly on the SATs back then, that my options were narrowed to colleges that didn't require the scores (i.e. Bennington, Bard, Sarah Lawrence, and Hampshire).
Lest you think I exaggerate, I am going to be brave enough to post my 1982 scores, which I managed to track down thanks to the College Board.
But first, one very important qualifier:
SAT scores were re-centered in 1995 because the center had fallen (i.e. 500 was now an above-average score). It's like going to the Gap and finding out that you suddenly fit into a size 2 when you were a size 6 last time you checked. It sure feels good, but the fact of the matter is that you didn't lose any weight they just made the sizes bigger. Same thing with the SATs. As far as I can tell, no one seems to be aware of the fallen SAT average, except for my good friend and SAT mentor, Catherine Johnson. Catherine's a treasure trove of SAT information.
So my pitiful SAT scores from 1982 would actually appear slightly better if I took them today. In fact, the 480 I scored in 1982 on the math section would have been a 510 in 2011 -- which happens to be the exact same math score I got when I took the SATs for the first time in nearly 30 years in January, 2011.
The good news is that I managed to have a pretty successful life, despite my appalling SAT scores.
The bad news is that I regret having squandered my high school education.
2011 is the year when I'm going to try to make up for lost time. You can read more about the Perfect Score Project on the About page of this site, follow along on this blog (I'll attempt to post daily), check out the video updates, etc. I hope some useful information will come out of this journey.
And please, send your SAT advice my way. Clearly, I can use all the help I can get.
* I made a classic SAT Writing Passage mistake here: "faulty parallelism."