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

Please Put Down Your Pencil!

Karl Schellscheidt -

free sat test video The most alarming thing you’ll hear on test day is the proctor saying, “Stop! Please put down your pencil”. When that statement is uttered, will you be one of the students without regret, or will you be frustrated that you left too many unanswered questions? Having an SAT test game plan on pace will save you both frustration and lost test points. In this prepcast, I’ll walk you through the best pacing strategy to comfortably get to the end of the test.

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Please Put Down Your Pencil (transcript)

Hi, I’m my name is Karl Schellscheidt and welcome to SAT unscripted. I’d like to share some of my thoughts with you about SAT preparation and the SAT test itself. The topic I’d like to discuss right now is called “Getting to the end of the test.”

I think that when a student takes the SAT test one of the worst things that you can hear when you’re taking an essay test is when they say “Please put down your pencils,” and you have five problems that you haven’t had a chance to look at. It is one of the most just heartening situations to be in. You feel like this thing is going down the tubes. When you think about the SAT’s you think about a young person going in to take it, you have to keep their psyche at mind and how important their confidence level is to getting a good score.

What I want you to think about for a moment is this concept of setting yourself up to feel comfortable throughout the test. Not that you go through and you’re necessarily getting every single one right. But knowing what to expect before you get in there and knowing when you’ve achieved your maximum. I think part of creating that good feeling as your going through the test is getting through each section; getting a look at each question in the test.

I’d like to propose that when you do an SAT test, go as quickly as you can and try to get to the last question. If you look at a problem that you know is going to really trip you up or you get to a problem that you know is tripping you up and you might not get it or it might take way to long get through, skip those problems.

Start with number one obviously because the easier ones tend to come in the beginning and you try to get through the test as quickly as you can to trying to get a look at each problem. What that will allow you to do is this: You go through nail all the easy ones, you skip the ones that you think might give you trouble, you get to the end of the test and then you can re-assess for a second. You can say “You know what, I just got a quick look at all twenty questions; I’ve already gotten eleven of them, those were sort of easy lay up problems, I sort have a decent score banked already I got eleven as a raw score and now what I’m going to do is go back and I’m going to work on the ones I may or may not have gotten anyway.”

So you go back and you work on all the ones that you had to skip initially and your going to wind picking up a bunch on those. Ultimately when they say put down your pencils if you’ve followed that methodology, you’re not going to have this anxious feeling of “Oh my god maybe there were ones that I could have gotten but I never got a chance to look at them.” No, you’ve looked at each problem and you nailed the ones that you know you could get and what was left were the ones that you were going to maybe get or maybe not get anyway.

So when they say put down your pencil and you’re in that situation you feel like “OK, I got a certain number of them; I feel pretty decent I had a look at the ones I didn’t really have too much time for, and I probably wasn’t going to get them anyway.” I think that if you try it that way you are going to feel so much more comfortable when they say put down your pencil. If you have that experience all the way through test you’re going to come out saying “Hey, you know what, I don’t know if it was perfect or not but I felt like I really came close to maximizing my score and that to me is what it’s all about.”

Karl Schellscheidt

Copyright 2006 — All Rights Reserved, ePrep, Inc.

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