No one is too stupid for the SAT. In all my time as an SAT tutor, while I’ve met many students that claimed that they were “too stupid” for math or the reading section, they never were. There are real issues that can make your score suffer, but these are issues that can be worked on. “Stupid” is a horrible label to put on anyone. It’s an insult that puts someone down while dismissing the fact that that person can learn and grow. If you find yourself thinking that you’re “too stupid” for the SAT, you’re probably struggling with one of the following.
So, let’s say you’re struggling with the base material of the SAT. Maybe you have a hard time getting through the reading part of the reading passages, or struggling with early questions on the Math SAT. These point to a problem with your foundational knowledge of the subjects. Maybe you were sick the day they went over averages, or having a rough month, or maybe your geometry teacher got arrested two weeks into the school year on mysterious charges and was replaced for the rest of the year by a substitute with a stammer who was preparing to teach French. Look, it happens. It doesn’t matter why, but some foundational piece of knowledge or skill didn’t make it into your brain.
Good news, that can be fixed! You can learn that missing skill. Identify the areas you’re struggling with, and look up some resources to catch up. If you’re having trouble spotting where things went wrong, maybe try getting a tutor or different perspective on it.
Maybe you aren’t missing any foundational skill, but the SAT test itself freaks you out. Your pulse speeds up when you start the test, and you find yourself feeling paralyzed when you reach certain questions. If the idea of taking the SAT fills you with dread, you might have test anxiety. Test anxiety happens when the test is associated with fear and negative feelings. Maybe you’ve received a less-than-stellar score on the SAT before, and now you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to do well. Take a couple of deep breaths, and break the chain of thoughts that’s telling you things will turn out badly. Breathe evenly, and know that you can release that anxiety. You can get better.
So, I’ve been leaving out an obvious one. Disabilities are real and can make it harder to reach your desired score on the SAT test. There’s no shame in having a disability and you can often find accommodations. I had extra time on my SAT essay section because I was diagnosed with dysgraphia, a fine motor control disorder that makes my handwriting unreadably bad unless I go very, very slowly. Accommodations are also offered for a number of different disabilities; the collegeboard website’s list of examples include visual impairments, motor impairments, and learning disorders! If there’s something about the test that’s especially hard for you, see if you qualify for accommodations! These are put in place the test accessible to everyone. Take advantage of it.
Life beyond high school is learning to work with and around the hand you’re dealt. Maybe you have dyslexia; you can display things in a dyslexic friendly font. Maybe you have ADHD; you can work with timers and find outlets for your hyperactivity. Don’t try and beat yourself up over it; work with it.
No matter who you are, or where you are in your life, there’s no such thing as “too stupid” for the SAT. There’s only unprepared.
That’s all! Now go out and conquer the SAT. I believe in you! If you want more SAT and ACT prep advice sure to join our mailing list for a free 27-item checklist and 30-day free SAT email course.