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

SAT Prep Tip - You Are Competing With Yourself

Karl Schellscheidt -

SAT reading passage questions
In this prepcast, I will share my thoughts on competition and achieving a maximum SAT test score. In short, you need to focus on yourself and what you can do; not others and what they are capable of doing.

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SAT Prep Tip — You Are Competing With Yourself (transcript)

Hi, I’m Karl Schellschiedt, Welcome to ePrep! I want to tell you a story that happened in my house one Saturday afternoon not to long ago. I have three young children: a nine year old, a seven year old and a six year old. We were sitting around the house one Saturday and they were bored so I said “You know what, let’s do something fun; let’s have an art contest.” So my daughter perked up right away, she’s the nine year old and she said “Oh this is going to be great I love drawing.” The boys who I thought love drawing too immediately say “No we don’t feel like doing it, it is not going to be fun; it is a stupid idea.” I said “What do you mean a stupid idea?” “It is going to be fun and I know you guys like coloring and drawing.” They wanted nothing to do with it; they didn’t budge. So, I started asking a couple of questions and I finally figured out that the reason they did not want to participate was because they thought they had no chance of winning. They felt that Judy was much better than them.

I thought about it and they had a valid point. Why would they want to get involved with a competition that they know they could not win. So, I decided to purse it a different way. I announced “Everybody draw a picture and I will then collect all three pictures; everybody will get to draw a new picture and then I will collect those. I will then compare your two pictures one by one and I will pick out the best one. I will to tell you what I liked about it and what I do not like about it.”
After the annoncement they were all into it. They said “This we can deal with.” They knew they could win because I just would have to pick one picture and tell them why I like it. They felt much better about competing with themselves than competing with each other.

The point of this story is this applies to life in general and it applies to the SAT’s. If you are always comparing yourself to others you are always going to make yourself feel bad. If you compete against yourself it is a healthier situation. There is a line that I use in a lot of my videos and that is “I hope that what I am saying will help you maximize your score.” I do not think everybody can get an 800 or a perfect score on the SAT’s. I feel like different people have different ability levels and that is just the way it is.

What I am all about is helping you attain your maximum score. I think if you get on board with that philosophy and you do not compare yourself to other people you just do what is right for you and compare yourself today with yourself tomorrow and the next day. Hold yourself to the standard of trying to improve every single day that you prepare for the SAT. I think if you approach it like that you are going to be a much happier person and you will indeed maximize your score.

Karl Schellscheidt
Copyright 2006 — All Rights Reserved, ePrep, Inc.

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