Our 10-second STEM test
Science, technology, engineering, mathematics
With the push to put more students (a.k.a. women) into the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, how can they tell if they are cut out for a career in STEM? Take our 10-second test to find out:
Q. Spend 10 seconds or more examining all aspects of this image. Does it excite you? Can you figure out (on your own) what a lot of it means? See below for what your answer means.
A: Yes, to both questions. This means that you probably will succeed in STEM.
A: No, to one or both questions. This means that you probably will be among the 40% who drop out of a STEM education.
Why This Test Works
As human beings, we need two parameters to be successful in a field of work: passion and ability. Passion means you are excited about the field; ability means that you can execute in the field. Here are the two questions about the image again:
- Does it excite you? You have passion, because your heart connects with the kinds of images found in engineering and mathematics.
- Can you figure out (on your own) what a lot of it means? You have ability, because your brain immediately begins to work out solutions.
If you got excited about the picture of the thread and its annotations, and wanted to know more about it, then congratulations: you are cut out for STEM!
When you experience only one of the two parameters, avoid the field. For example, I am passionate about music, but have little ability: I listen to and analyze music; I don’t perform it.
Another example: You may have the ability to carry out your job, but have no passion for it: leave the job, but only leave it after you determine your passion and ability in another field. Look at endeavors that excite you — whether helping street people, raising children, launching new businesses, or developing new technology — and then figure out if you have the ability to carry out your passion.
You know you have the ability when you find the field easy to understand, because answers (or a route to the answers) come to you intuitively.
Happy New Year!
PS: On a practical note, to get into STEM, it is crucial that you pass Physics 12 in high school.