Percentiles: Everything You Need to Know
Students face standardized exams throughout their education. While these are common, they can be frustrating to students, for one reason or another. Standardized tests include intelligence tests, SAT, an aptitude test, and GRE. These aren’t tests you can fail, however, rather show your knowledge and skills. You receive a report of your scores and are ranked among those who’ve taken the test too. Results, however, are given in percentiles.
If you know the percentile ranking you achieve, you can compare your performance to others. So, what do you need to know about percentiles?
Understanding The Percentile Scores
It can be difficult to fully grasp percentile rank scores. Some are often worded confusingly. So, here is one example of how your percentile rank scores could be shown.
- SAT Score: 1300
Percentile Rank: 30th Percentile
Meaning: 30% of the applicants obtain a score of 1300 and below. 70% obtained a score over 1300.
- SAT Score: 1470
Percentile Rank: 70th Percentile
Meaning: 70% of applicants have a score of 1470 or below. 30% score 1470 and over.
To break that down, if your SAT score was between 1300 and 1500, (and a school set that as their admittance bar) you’d be accepted to the selective school.
How to Interpret the Results?
Every exam has a standard score; however, each section is broken down and a percentile rank is concluded. For example:
- 30th Percentile for Verbal Reasoning
- 80th Percentile for Numerical Reasoning
- 90th Percentile for Mechanical Reasoning
So, how can you understand these scores in simple terms?
Well, the 30th percentile for verbal reasoning means you need to improve in this area. Your score is good but only better than 30% of all test applicants. For numerical reasoning, you did well because you have a higher score than 80% of your peers. Mechanical reasoning, however, is the area you excelled in. You had a score that was higher than 90% of all test applicants. That puts your mechanical reasoning skills at a high level.
What is the Significant of the Percentile Scores?
While percentile rankings don’t seem overly important, they can have a huge impact on college applications and SAT scores. For instance, the percentile ranking scores help you understand the score a university or college will accept your application. Of course, percentiles are one part of the requirement; you also need to ace the interview, have excellent high school transcripts, and have good recommendation letters. A college or university will look at the overall view of applicants, including test scores and more.
In simple terms, percentiles compare you to those who completed the exam. While they don’t seem to be overly important, they do have a significant role in higher education. Having a great percentile ranking score gives you an edge. Of course, these are determined by the number of test applicants and how everyone performed.