Panel of Experts

Karl Schellscheidt

SAT Prep Expert

  • BSE, Princeton University '90
  • M.A., Secondary Education Seton Hall University '93
  • J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School '00

Fred Hargadon

Dean of Admission

  • Swarthmore College
  • Stanford University
  • Princeton University

Don Betterton

Financial Aid Expert

  • Director of Financial Aid, Princeton University (1973-2006)
  • Certified College Planner
  • Principal, Betterton College Planning

Seamus Malin

Admission Expert

  • Harvard University
    Dir. of Financial Aid
    Asst. Dean of Admission
    International Office Director

Critical Reading Another Way - Sam’s Story

Karl Schellscheidt -

free sat test videoAre you a slow reader and struggle to finish all the questions on the SAT Reading section? If you answer ‘yes’, you are in good company. In this video, I share the story of my student Sam, who was willing to try a new strategy when completing the Reading section that dramatically improved his score and confidence. Taking the SAT is no different than most challenges in life. When facing your weaknesses, it pays sometimes to alter your strategy.

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Critical Reading Another Way - Sam’s Story

I just finished tutoring a kid named Sam it was a really good session and I want to share with you what happened. Sam forgot his calculator today so we decided to try some critical reading sections those are the sections with sentence completion followed by reading passages. So I gave Sam twenty-five minutes like I always do; timed him perfectly down to the second. And when I came back after twenty-five minutes he seemed really distraught and so I quickly asked him what happened. Then he said “You know what I’m a slow reader and I never get to the second passage and I wind up having to leave eight blank at the end and it’s definitely not a good feeling for me and I don’t know if there is much that I can do about the fact that I’m a slow reader.”

I said “You know what don’t worry about it Sam.” And then I told him a story about a kid who I used to tutor from Lawrence Field Prep. And this kid would never read the passages. He would just go to the question read the question and then jump back to the passage and try to figure it out. And most of the questions these days do refer you back to a line so it’s not a bad strategy. So for example, If the question referred the student back to line eight rather; he would go to line eight he’d read the sentence before and the sentence after and obviously line eight and he would piece it together and figure it out. And he was really good at it got most of them right.

So I told Sam the story and said “Why don’t you just give it a try ok you have nothing to lose here, we have time to experiment.” “It’s the summer your not taking the test for another couple of months, give it a try see what happens.” So he was agreeable, gave him another twenty-five minutes and when I got back he seemed a lot more positive. I asked him how it went he said “I think it went pretty well; I actually answered them all and I think I did ok.” So we went through we graded it and it turns out that he nailed every single one of the reading passage questions.

And so I had him then calm down a little because I said “You know what Sam, you did a great job I’m really happy but I don’t think you are going nail every one every single time.” “Let’s keep things in perspective this is definitely maybe a good strategy for you, it’s a strategy we are going to try to develop and really hone your skills.”

But the bottom line is this that Sam was really happy. He felt like had he never tried that he’d never would have figured it out. He now thinks he can do well on the critical reading section and that made me feel really good. I’m going to keep working with him I’ll give you an update one day. But the point of this video is this; it’s for all the people who are slow readers who struggle with the reading passages. You may want to at least experiment with the idea of going right to the questions and jumping back trying to piece it together. It might be a way for you to maximize your score.

Karl Schellscheidt

Copyright 2006 — All Rights Reserved, ePrep, Inc.

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