1570/Aug 18'/CP/ Frederick HS/Junior
Dr. Li’s SAT Boot Camp was another great experience for me. Having already found much success with his SAT Math 2 class earlier that Spring, I knew that any of his classes would not only give me preparation for standardized exams but would also ameliorate my studying habits in my regular school as well.
Just like his SAT Math 2 class, the mathematics was rigorous in both quantity and quality. Not only were there a lot of problems to solve prior to every single session, but the problems were also much more laborious compared to those seen on the actual SAT. Ultimately, the harder problems only confirmed my mastery of the simple subjects and made me prepared to tackle any type of question thrown at me.
During the actual classes, Dr. Li always had a good strategy - cover only the questions that confused students. This allowed us as an entire class to skip over the easy problems and go into in-depth techniques surrounding the much harder problems. Furthermore, when Dr. Li saw fit, he would introduce faster techniques to solving easier problems that would save us time on the SAT. These tricks would prove tremendous, as they would help me with my mathematics skills both in the classroom as well as during the actual SAT and PSAT, where I had ample time to check my work.
As for the reading and writing portion of the class, I always looked forward to seeing Dr. Thomson and hearing his amusing anecdotes. Whether it was his time at Yale or his experience with a plethora of professions, every single passage, grammatical sentence, or even vocabulary word had a link to a portion of his exciting life. This not only made the class much more engaging but also allowed me to recall other vocabulary words based on solely the stories I remembered from his classes.
Similar to the mathematics portion, Dr. Thomson’s passages for the reading and writing sections were significantly harder than those seen on the actual exam. Each reading was hand-picked by the instructors, which allowed them to truly understand the deep intricacies of each selection. Ultimately, with a test like the SAT and PSAT, while understanding the grammatical rules and mastering reading comprehension is important, what is important is employing special skills and techniques in order to maximize your time on the exam. Throughout the weekend intensive program, Dr. Thomson taught us about the best way to tackle reading comprehension and writing questions by not only sharing certain tricks but also by verbalizing his actual thought process when actually solving the question. As a result, during the practice exams and even during the actual standardized tests, I found myself asking myself the same question as Dr. Thomson: Which word best replaces this word in the sentence? Would the passage make sense if this phrase was taken out? As for the essay portion, he made sure to show us how to annotate the passages we were analyzing, the various rhetorical components we would need to go over, and also the proper way to outline in order to make sure we could write without any interruptions. Furthermore, his comments on our essays were vital in helping me make revisions during future essays, which ultimately led to my strong performance on the portion of the examination. Overall, these test-taking strategies were helpful regarding both my time management as well as my ability to check over certain questions I was unsure about.
I truly believe that Dr. Li’s SAT class is a worthwhile learning experience. Aside from helping me intensively prepare for the SAT and PSAT, it also showed me new techniques to solve problems in my actual AP classes as well as manage my time due to all the work we had to finish.