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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

the Perfect Score Project

The Perfect Score Project: One Mother's Journey to Uncover the Secrets of the SAT Description:

The project began as an attempt by Debbie Stier to help her teenage son, Ethan, who would shortly be studying for the SAT. Aware that Ethan was a typical teenager (i.e., uninterested in any test, especially a 4-hour standardized exam) and would be facing a much more competitive admissions process and economy than when she was in high school, she decided to climb into the trenches with him.  She took the SAT seven times in one year, ultimately compiling an accessible and relatable guide that is both a consumer report of fresh tips and an amusing snapshot of parental love and wisdom colliding with teenage apathy. Stier quickly became hooked, and her quest turned into an exercise in both hilarity and heartbreak as she persisted in deciphering the mind-boggling menu of test prep options. In The Perfect Score Project Debbie tries it all, from Kaplan, to Kumon and The Khan Academy; she meets with a premier grammar coach, takes a battery of intelligence tests, and studies with the world’s most prestigious (and expensive) test prep company. She answers all the questions that overwhelm students and parents facing the SAT: “When do I start?” “Does brand-name test-prep work?” “Do I need a tutor, a class, or can I self-study?” “What’s the one thing I need to know?” and, “What’s the secret to teenage motivation?”

    The Perfect Score Project has inspired thousands of parents, students and teachers to connect and transform the most reviled right of passage in a high school student’s life into a positive experience. This book provides concrete research on the best ways to succeed on a test that serves as the last big milestone before kids leave for college.

My Review:

As the mom of a bright, intelligent, ADHD underachieving boy preparing for college exams, this book excited me.  You see, my son scores "gifted" on intelligence tests....until he has to write down his answers and show his work, or put his thoughts on paper in some form slightly resembling a paragraph.  Then he scores "learning disabled".  The conundrum of both a gifted and learning disabled student neatly wrapped up in the body of an exuberant boy terrifies me when it comes to converting it into numbers that will allow him admittance in a college.  Especially when his chosen major is only offered at one college in the state and it only accepts about 5-10 students per year for that major!

When I was given the opportunity to review this book it felt like an answer to prayer.  Debbie Stier's own son had ADHD and her concerns were much like mine.  I sure don't want to pay for various test prep programs, much less the $350+ she must have spent to take the SAT seven times in an attempt to find the best scenario.  Let me say, I am glad that Stier was not only willing to do so, but she was also willing to share her story and results with the rest of us.

This book is FULL of advice that I had never even considered, and even more things to think about that I didn't even know were available!  My son has already begun to incorporate some of it in his own test prep, and both of our minds are much more at ease about the whole process.  Is he going to achieve "the perfect score"?  Probably not.  But he will achieve a score much higher than he would have without this book, and with a lot less stress!

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