It’s that time of year again, when everyone from your friends and classmates to your parents and teachers are talking about standardized tests.

When everyone is stressing the importance of doing well on standardized tests, the pressure of the SATs, ACTs, or state tests can become completely consuming and cause major anxiety. It almost feels like if you don’t perform well, your future will be ruined.

But that’s not the case at all! While the standardized tests measure your mastery of writing, language, and math, they don’t define a person — not even close! Read on for a list of vital qualities and skills that don’t show themselves in test scores.

standardized tests1. Kindness

Many people believe that it’s best to be cutthroat to get what you want, but a little bit of niceness can go a long way. There is no “generosity, love, and thoughtfulness” section on the SAT…but wouldn’t the world be a better place if there was? You never know the difference simply being kind to someone will make.

2. Growth

Most standardized tests measure mastery of a subject, not improvement over time. But as you prepare to take standardized tests, take a moment to reflect on how much you’ve learned in the last year or more. Even Einstein started as a baby who didn’t know how to talk, walk, or add. Given time and the right resources, he became one of the most recognizable geniuses of modern times. Who knows? You might just be a calculus genius…once you have the time and resources to study it fully.

standardized tests3. Artistic Ability

Your ideal career may have nothing to do with writing a great essay or solving math problems. Creative people don’t have a standardized test to measure to their artistic ability — and we’re willing to bet that many who perform well on the SAT would be completely lost when it came to painting, sculpting, fashion, and other creative endeavors.

4. Positivity

Who wants a Negative Nancy around? (It’s not even a rhetorical question: the answer is no one!) Having a sunny outlook on the world and an affirmative approach to your work often makes you an unstoppable force. Unfortunately, the makers of standardized tests don’t care about this incredible quality.

5. Leadership

Your standardized test scores may not show it, but you could be captain of the football team or the president of the drama club. Being a leader is an important skill colleges look for in their admission candidates–and it’s a skill that few candidates have, which means this one can really set you apart.

6. Responsibility

Maybe you’re not getting top grades at school, but you’re juggling a lot of important duties at home. From babysitting your younger siblings while your parents work to holding a part-time job on the weekends, your reliability when it comes to fulfilling your responsibilities is an important character trait that standardized tests can’t measure.

7. Passion

It may sounds like a cliché, but not everyone is passionate about their work — and sooner or later, it shows. Most bosses would must rather have an employee who has enthusiasm for their job over someone who could accomplish it with their eyes closed but doesn’t care about their work. It’s not always the smarter people who come up with the better ideas and do things above and beyond the standard. People with passion do that.

standardized tests8. Work Ethic

A person may not always have the right answers immediately, but their determination to find them will get them every far in life. Having a good work ethic isn’t obvious from scores on a standardized test, but employers will notice it right away — and be happy to share a glowing recommendation when it comes to your next gig.

9. Athletic Ability

Are you gifted on the basketball court, baseball field, or in the swimming pool? Unfortunately, those talents won’t be factored into your test score. However, you can rest assured that the lessons learned from being part of a team or while training for a sport will take you far.

10. Emotional Intelligence

Standardized tests aren’t able to assess a person’s important ability to control their emotions and to handle interactions with others with empathy. Not only does emotional intelligence help in many jobs, but it also helps you read situations in everyday life by keeping you level-headed. What boss doesn’t want that in their employees?

While standardized tests don’t mean everything, there are an important task that can provide valuable data. If you’re preparing to apply for college, you might find that one type of standardized test suits you better than the other. Check out our comparison of the ACT and SAT tests and pick which one will be better equipped to show off your knowledge.

Remember, the things that make you YOU probably won’t show up on any test. Do your best, but know that you have incredible things to offer the world regardless of what your score says.

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