This article was originally published Jan. 31, 2000.
This shocker from the campaign trail: Bill Bradley, Princeton graduate, Rhodes scholar, U.S. senator and know-it-all candidate for president of the United States, is revealed to have gotten a 485 on the verbal part of his high school SAT.
That’s roughly the score of a chicken, pecking at a keyboard. (Most Ivy Leaguers are good for 680 or better.)
This cannot be good news for the people who run the Educational Testing Service, the company that writes the SAT. ETS is forever having to defend itself against charges that the test is arbitrary and does not reflect real aptitude or accurately predict success.
We thought we would help ETS explain this apparent, but obviously mistaken, impression that its test is flawed.
Here are the top 10 explanations:
1. Bradley blew the antonyms section. He just couldn’t bring himself to “go negative.”
2. Being a fierce athletic competitor who accepted nothing less than total victory, he refused to use a pencil that said it was only “Number 2.”
3. When the test proved more boring than he was, he had a paralyzing identity crisis.
4. He was never very good on the boards.
5. He flunked sentence completion because, like all bleeding-heart liberals, he thinks most sentences should be open-ended.
6. To prove that he was for a woman’s right to choose even back then, he let the girl next to him pick his answers.
7. He shaved points. You think he wanted Princeton? His mom wanted Princeton. He was a basketball player. He wanted the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
8. He was stoned. Oh, wait. That was Al Gore.
9. He had an attack of irregular heartbeat after hitting question 7: “INCHOATE is to RUBIGINOUS as SOLIPSISM is to ________?”
10. Scoring 485 was part of the grand plan. When he ran for president, it would be his only chance to seem like a regular guy.