Hoping to become a psychologist, a 28 year old friend of ours asked for our advice in overcoming adult dyscalculia. Her worry was the math section of the GRE exam she would have to pass to get into a good graduate school. Her worry certainly isn’t unwarranted, but there are ways to get around adult dyscalculia.
Fortunately, there are many paths to take to reach the goal of graduate school (or anything else for that matter). Here are a few suggestions:
- Taking the GRE math course isn’t going to be easy, but first give it a try by taking a prep course or hire a qualified math tutor who can teach strategies and sufficient math skills in order to pass. However, that certainly won’t guarantee a good score on the exam.
- Before going through all the anguish and expense of a course or private tutoring, contact the colleges of interest and explain the situation. They help solve problems like this, and likely will be interested in helping overcome adult dyscalculia as well. When calling, speak to an admissions counselor, or the chair of the Psychology Department or the dean of the graduate school in psychology.
- Whether it’s psychology or a managerial position at work, what have you got to lose? On the flip side, think of what you have to gain by initiating an open discussion with folks? (Not every one understands how quirky the brain can be about learning certain things, so use discretion if awareness of the issue would negatively impact the situation long term. There are yet other options, first.)Before taking the GRE or even preparing for it, research graduate schools and their requirements. Some universities may not require the GRE. Research thoroughly because they have many other requirements that are similar. Many wonderful opportunities are out there, so keep researching.
Finally, remember that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. It’s important in life to find your own strengths and go with them. Don’t ruin your life with sadness or pity by dwelling on the weakness. If there is no way around math think of other options.
What’s often hard for people to budge from is the vision they’ve created for themselves at a certain school or in a certain job. But the fact is there are always ways to be doing what you love with a different title or address. Sometimes the process of overcoming adult dyscalculia means those of us who have it must dig a bit deeper to find the gold.
As an example, licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) can have very similar careers as psychologists including private practice work as psychotherapists. Often the requirements are less stringent for this degree. Many other helping careers may not require math. Make an appointment with a career counselor privately or at a nearby college to explore your options. There’s more than one path to take to find the right career.