How a person with an SAT score of a 1000 writes

An SAT score of 1000 on the post-1995 test is unimpressive, corresponding to an IQ of around 100. Most people who score that low (either on an IQ test or on the SAT) keep it private. According to those celebrity SAT lists you see everywhere, even most actors score higher than that, yet the author is in finance – a field that one would assume is more intellectually rigorous than the performing arts. Weird how that works, and maybe this agrees with my earlier post about the liberals arts possibly being harder than STEM, even though it pays less. *

Since people only brag about high scores, how can we assess everyone else based on public information? One way is through writing samples, but even those can be misleading, however, as some people with above average intelligence will either lazily or deliberately use poor punctuation and sentence structure.

This example is particularly informative, since he posts his SAT score and numerous writing samples that are written to the best of his ability. The author is 35, implying he took the post-1995 version of the SAT, which has a lower ceiling than the pre-1995 version. Unfortunately, we don’t have the breakdown of the score by math and verbal. If the math is substantially higher than the verbal, then maybe the IQ higher than 100, as the math portion of the SAT has a much lower ceiling than the verbal. As his writing is cogent, albeit simple, my guess is the breakdown is 550 math and 450 verbal – or about a 100 IQ. A lot of people may assume a 400-range verbal means semi-literate, but apparently not.

*But how can that be? Isn’t STEM always harder? It depends. My belief is that there are varying ‘ceilings’ depending on career and accomplishments. Math & physics may have the highest ceiling of all, but this is only applicable to a tiny percentage of the population who are working on unsolved problems in the theoretical domain. But I think in comparing your typical engineer vs. your typical author (not Amazon self-publishing, but by a traditional publishing house), I think the author (due to the difficulty of getting published and the necessity of good prose and plot) comes out slightly ahead. At the professional level, there are more people who can do math well than can write well**, which could suggest that professional-level fiction and prose writing is more intellectually demanding than professional-level STEM work. At the sub-professional level (low-paying service sector work, for example), talent in either domain is not needed.

** This is just my hunch, but I suspect there is some truth to it as evidenced by all the complaints about how college graduates can’t write well. Bad teaching? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just hard.

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