Real Intelligence: What Makes A Person Smart?

When you think of the “smart” kids, who do you picture?

Perhaps someone with a perfect test score or the National Spelling Bee champ.

If so, I think I might have to disagree with you. Don’t get me wrong, academic achievements take serious work and I commend all of the spelling bee champs out there for those long hours spent in the library.

But I get annoyed when the traditionally intelligent fact-memorizers, SAT essay-writers and grammar nazis are seen as smarter than other kids. Sure, these people have high IQs, but what about their analytical intelligence? Their ability to make connections? To truly understand other people?

But who am I to say who is smarter than who? Who is anyone to make those kinds of judgments? It’s very difficult to determine, especially because there are different kinds of intelligence. A famous Albert Einstein quote sums it up perfectly: “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”


In our society, “climbing the tree” is the equivalent of getting a high SAT score or a perfect GPA. These tests aren’t a true qualifier of intelligence!

I know plenty of people who are extremely brilliant and witty, even if they don’t have the best grades. I know that they will do great things that will make the world a better place and they won’t need straight As to do them.

The moral: Remember that SAT scores, grades, and college acceptances don’t define how smart you are—no matter how snooty your classmate acts about getting into Harvard.


Improve your SAT or ACT score, guaranteed. Start your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh SAT Prep or your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh ACT Prep today!

magoosh logo checks


  • Nadira Berman

    As a Summer Marketing Intern, Nadira is excited to help high schoolers prepare for the SAT and ACT. As a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, she is considering studying economics. In her free time, she reports for the school newspaper and styles photo shoots for the school's fashion magazine. Besides fashion and journalism, her passions include bagels, smoothies and Netflix.

By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!

No comments yet.

Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply