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Why am I so stupid?

  1. Oct 15, 2012 #1
    I've recently realized that I've been overly confident of my academic abilities. I've had a profound interest in physics and computer science since I was in middle school. I toke physics and AP Computer Science in high school. I scored lower than I expected on my SAT. As a result a decided to go to community college. I'm taking calculus I and I have an A right now. After some chiding from my friend I decided to take the ASVAB. This morning I went in telling the recruiter I want to do Nuclear Engineering he told me to take the AFQT which is the math and English portion of the ASVAB. I got a 44/99 which is barely passing to even get INTO the Navy. I'm appalled at my test scores. I get as if I got everything right, YET the same thing happened as on my SAT's I scored atrociously. I don't understand why my test scores come out so low. I love physics and technology with a passion i often read physics blogs and arstechnica and understand a large majority of what I read. I'm now realizing that I am no where near as smart as I thought I am.. And came here for some kind of guidance.. I'm due to retake the AQFT in 2 weeks. As I'm working through these BASIC Arithemetic problems I'm getting 100's on the online practice tests. What should I do? I'm 18 now btw. I'm at a point where I just don't know anymore..

    I'm also aware this is I between academic and career, so if this post does classify as the latter, I'm sorry for posting in the wrong section..
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2012 #2

    Drakkith

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    What exactly are you failing on your tests? The math portion? The english portion?
    Have you ever had any trouble in school with either of these subjects?
     
  4. Oct 16, 2012 #3

    MarneMath

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    Take this from someone who spent many glorious and god awful days in the military, I really hope you're not joining the Navy because you doubt your academic ability and see the Navy as an easier route. I hope you're doing it because it'll be an honor to spend the next 4-5 (due to the length of your a school, possibly even 6) years on a submarine (or ship) moving on the needs of the Navy. For some people, that's all great, but make sure it's what you want. It will effectively remove you from computer science and physics for that time.

    Now that I have said all that, it happens. Maybe you feel pressure taking these 'important test' and read questions too quickly or make simple mistakes. Poor test taking skills is rarely the result of poor intelligence. If you want to go to school to study CS or Physics, then keep up with your Community college work, get good grades and apply as a transfer student. I think in the long run you'll be happier.
     
  5. Oct 16, 2012 #4

    micromass

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    Well, we can't really give advice until you know exactly what you did wrong. Did you not understand the concepts? Did you make a lot of arithmetic errors? Did you rush things too much? Etc.
     
  6. Oct 16, 2012 #5
    If you're considering the Nuclear program in the Navy, note that it is probably one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult program in the military to enlist in. It's not going to be any easier than college. It's a very academically challenging program
     
  7. Oct 16, 2012 #6
    I found several blatant grammatical errors in your post, so I wouldn't be so rash as to assume that your faults lie entirely within your mathematical ability.

    I have no clue what this test is, but assuming that the English portion of it covers grammar, as opposed to reading various essays and answering questions about the essay, then I would recommend that you review your grammar as well as your math. Dialectic grammar is often times incorrect, although that isn't necessarily your fault.

    For example, growing up in Iowa, I often hear (and use) a sentence like, "Where are you at?" or "Where are you going to eat at?" etc. It sounds natural and correct to me, because that's how our regional dialect is, but it's nevertheless incorrect; you should leave off the "at" at the end of the sentence, because I now know that you can't have a preposition without an object of the preposition.

    Basically, if the test covers both English and Mathematics, then don't neglect either of them, but study for both.

    And like it has been said before, it helps if you figure out specifically what you are having trouble with. I came to this forum originally for help with math, and quickly realized that just saying "I'm bad at math, help me," is far too broad to allow anyone to help you.
     
  8. Oct 16, 2012 #7
    Don't give up, I felt the same way when I first took classical Mechanics. I had been a straight A student in college, currently in Calc 4, and I was barely able to pull a C in that class. I walked out of class after every quiz and test feeling horrible like the biggest idiot in the world, but I really think if you put more time into it, you might be able to do it.
    Are you studying enough? I put more time into Physics and lately I've been doing fine. My first class was probably bad due to my arrogance in my abilities as mid-way i started really devoting all my time to it and it finally just clicked.
    I'm positive you aren't as dumb as you think you are, you just need to put a little bit more time into studying.
     
  9. Oct 16, 2012 #8
    Yes, I understand. I was upset when I wrote the post and it was on my phone as well. As far as everything else goes. I retoke the tests online and well above 80% all four subjects. It's just strange to me how I know what to do when I'm at home, yet at the testing center I blanked out. My lowest marks were on the arithmetic section of the screening yet my highest was the Mathematical Knowledge section. (On the online practice exam I toke).

    On another note, I don't want to join the Navy because it's an easier route, the opposite actually. I want to join and do the nuclear program because to me its a way to give back to my country as well as begin a career doing something that I truly have a passion to complete. A much better alternative than staying at my current Community College and watching all my friends have fun in a Univesity.

    Regardless, I'm going to pump through the basics again and keep retaking the practice exam until I'm able to make near 100's on each section. I've already seen improvement from yesterday. I guess I just feel embarressed and stupid because now my friends make fun of me calling me "stupid" "f*cking retarded" and things of that kind for my low mark on that exam, Yet they can't even take the derivative of a function, let alone tell me the laws of thermodynamics. I'm just frusturated with myself to say the least.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  10. Oct 16, 2012 #9

    Drakkith

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    Have you had any trouble in the past with testing? And I hope your friends don't actually mean what they say, because if so, they don't seem like any friends I would want.
     
  11. Oct 16, 2012 #10
    Yes, It always seems like its on "Standardized" type tests. In the classroom I do just fine. During the SAT and recently this test it seems like I always faulter and it always affects my future negatively.

    I don't know. Apparently, as other friends have told me they aren't the "best" friends someone could have in life.
     
  12. Oct 16, 2012 #11
    Make better friends.

    BiP
     
  13. Oct 16, 2012 #12

    Drakkith

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    Perhaps you have test anxiety? I would see a doctor about it if you consistently do poor on tests yet are able to do very well in the classroom. There are also a number of other things that could affect your test taking abilities that only a medical professional could diagnose.

    If they don't support you, then they aren't really your friends. Well, in my definition of "friend" at least. Maybe you just hang out with them or whatnot, but to me that doesn't make them friends.
     
  14. Oct 16, 2012 #13
    I've noticed that when I go into a test extremely confident, I come out with a bad grade because I fail to check my work. Sometimes I'll even walk out of the room, and suddenly it will hit me that I totally missed a step in a chemistry problem just because I was so proud of myself that I finished so quickly. But when I'm worried, and am not really sure if I had studied enough, I do well because I spend so much time on it.

    So my advice is that if this seems to be your problem (and only you can figure that out from past exams), TAKE YOUR TIME. Don't rush anything! Don't be over confident.
     
  15. Oct 17, 2012 #14

    MarneMath

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    Then you should consider NROTC. Get a degree in field you enjoy and serve your country, with better pay and opportunities. Especially if you have plans to go to university after your time in service. Keep in mind five to six years is a long long long long time, especially in the military. If you're recruiter tells you you'll have time for college while you're in, he's not giving you the full story.
     
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