Looking for my college transcript in my files, I just ran across the printed report of my 1996 General GRE results. Verbal 740, Analytical 750, and Quantitative 690. (All my standardized test scores are also online, here.)
I was reminded that being better than 98-99% of other test takers in my verbal score has simply been a fact of life since... whenever it was that I first started taking them. Third grade, I think (at which point I tested at a high school graduate level) And I am remembering a conversation, walking across the Grinnell Campus, about these GRE test scores.
I was disappointed that my Quantitative score was only 690.
My boyfriend couldn't understand my disappointment. He pointed out that my Quantitative score was better than 79% percent of other people who took the GRE, which is all people applying for grad school. That was an achievement, was his point, and he wasn't wrong. I cheered up a little at the time, but I still can't shake the overall sense that I am (comparatively) weak in math.
I honestly wonder if this is an overlooked component to why perfectly smart middle school girls tend to self-evaluate as "not that good in math" at the same ability level where boys are more likely to be proud of their math skills. Boy are less likely to have had strong linguistic skills from an early age, so they don't have that portion of their own skill set and self-confidence to compare their math skills to.
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