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

Thank Goodness the SAT is a Hard Test

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep video I’m sure most high school students would take issue with this prepcast title. A quick read through many MySpace user blogs usually have the words “SAT test” paired with certain superlatives that I’ll refrain from mentioning here! Why do I think you should be happy the SAT test is so hard? Think about that for a minute, and then watch this video.

Thank Goodness the SAT is a Hard Test (transcript)

Hi, I’m Karl Schellscheidt, Welcome to SAT unscripted! I’d like to share some of my thoughts with you about SAT’s and SAT preparation. The topic that I’d like to discuss right now is called “Thank goodness the test is hard.” This really stems from a lot time I spent with students and listening to kids moan and groan about how hard the test is.

The story I would like to tell kids is that I always start off by saying “Listen, thank goodness the test is hard.” Then I will ask them “Do you know why I think you should be happy the test is hard?” Then variably they say “No, tell me why,” so I am going to tell you. I tell kids to pretend that you are an amazing baseball player and you are going to try out. You want to show that you are the best around. You feel you deserve to be on this all-star team that you are trying out for. Picture yourself as an amazing baseball player and you show up at the try-out and the person in charge says “Everybody find a partner and I want you to get fifteen yards apart.”

So you find a partner and get your yards apart and you start throwing back and forth and loosening up. This goes on for quite a while. You start wondering when this is going to end. After about an hour of throwing back and forth the person in charge says “I would like to thank everybody for coming and we will let you know next week who made the team.”

“If you were a really good baseball player, how would you feel if that was the try-out that you were asked to participate in.” Invariably kids say “Well I’d be kind of frustrated.” Then I would say “Why would you be frustrated?” The kid responds “Well I’m frustrated because I felt like I was better than most of the people there; I never had the chance to show that I was better because all they really asked us to do is throw a ball back and forth.”

I state “Think about the SAT’s; if the test was so easy that everybody could do really well it would just test stuff that anybody can do”, I tell kids “I would be nervous in taking that test.” The reason I would be nervous taking the test is because if every math question were 2+2 and you made one error; you would have the lowest score there is. So I tell kids you should be happy that the SAT is a challenging test because it gives you the opportunity to distinguish yourself from the pack. Again, if every test question were too easy there would be no way to separate yourself from the rest of the students taking the test. But because the test is generally considered to be hard it really gives you the opportunity to distinguish yourself from everybody else who is taking it on that test day. If you truly prepared yourself and you are ready for the test, you can then distinguish yourself. Hopefully this thought will help motivate you to study and really get the score you deserve in the end and hopefully that’s your maximum score.

Karl Schellsheidt
ePrep, Inc.

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