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

Real SAT Test Stories: My Nightmare Experience

Karl Schellscheidt

eprep test prep video Diligent preparation for the SAT test material is essential, but don’t underestimate the chances that something will go wrong on SAT test day. In fact, you should almost plan on it. As with everything in life, you cannot control all the variables at work when you walk into that classroom and sit down for the SAT test. However, you can control your reaction to any problems that arise. Join me in this prepcast series on real SAT stories as I relay my SAT test day nightmare.

Real SAT Test Stories: My Nightmare Experience (transcript)

I want to tell you about my SAT horror story. I took the SAT’s back in 1985 at my high school and back then there wasn’t a lot for preparation. They just gave you two number 2 pencils and they told you where to be and you took the test and that was the end of it. I showed up one Saturday morning in September and it was really hot; it was around 90 degrees. The school didn’t have air conditioning and on top of that they were applying tar on the roof right above the classroom where I was taking the test. The windows were open to help cool us off a little but it didn’t help. The smell from the tar was pouring in and I thought I was going to pass out a few times but I got through the test.

The point is when you go to the SAT’s you may have a horror story. There may be a lot of things that go on that you can not control that will distract you. You don’t get bonus points because it was hot or because the air conditioning was broken. The reason why I bring this up is because I think that these stories happen frequently. I recently tutored a kid that took the SAT and when I followed up with him and I asked him how the test went he said “I was in a big gym that had a divider and they had closed off half of the gym for the SAT.” “In the other half of the gym they were letting kids play basketball” he said. The wall clearly wasn’t sound proof because the kid I tutored was on the other side of the wall and he could hear the kids next door playing basketball; it was very distracting for him. If you expect to go to the SAT’s and expect to have the perfect environment forget about it.

You must prepare by putting yourself in simulated conditions. If you practice for the SAT’s in a completely silent environment each time, you are not preparing well. Put yourself in a place where there are some distractions. If you are in a very quiet place, you may want to create a discretion such as turning on a radio so that when you test and distractions come into play, you are not thrown off by them. Part of practicing under simulated conditions is practicing with distractions, as distraction may occur during the SAT. Try this approach to SAT practice to help maximize your real SAT score.

Karl Schellscheidt
ePrep, Inc.

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