Skills are learned, not inherited. Nowhere was that apothegm proven more true than at Dr. Li’s math/english SAT summer camp. I went to it for the first time in July of 2016. High school was fast approaching, and the last thing I wanted to do was tell people I went to “math” camp over the summer. My fear was palpable as I entered Dr. Li’s classroom on that summer day, but as quickly as it came, it was gone. What was cringe-worthy, soon became fun; I eventually learned to love my sessions at Dr. Li’s over the next weeks and summers. His program even allowed me to get a 99th-percentile plus SAT score (1580 with a 19/24 on the essay section), and my accomplishments are in no small part due to the expert teachers of the Math/English academy.
Dr. Li, of course, teaches the math class. Challenging and rigorous, it takes traditional SAT math and amps up the difficulty of practice problems—making the real SAT seem easy in comparison. Basic skills are reviewed while ‘higher-level’ techniques for quickly and accurately solving questions are taught to every student. Dr. Li’s teaching brought me from the low 500s in math to a 790 and I credit his constantly-deployed problem sets and review packets for this increase. Because of him, I’ve not just become a better math test-taker but a better math student.
Similarly, skills from Dr. Thomson grammar and writing classes carry over into the real world. His curriculum for both is mainly self-directed yet worth it if you put in the proper effort. For the purposes of grammar, Dr. Thomson utilizes pre-made packets with a variety of SAT, ACT, and sentence completion questions. They test you on every aspect of standard English conventions while also building up critical thinking faculties. You are eventually forced to apply these lessons when Dr. Thomson’s writing assignments are assigned. Following a set structure, his mock SAT essays require quick thinking, heavy analysis, and correct grammar. While the first essay always seems impossible, the others become easy when Dr. Thomson reveals his formula and sage-like advice for how to write well. He also focuses heavily on vocabulary build-up and how to deploy words for their meaning rather than their length. Without his instruction, I do not believe that I would be as good of a writer or thinker as I am today.
Reading seems to be the mortal enemy of every SAT-taker, but the lectures given and exercises done by Mr. Snyder make it much more manageable. Using passages and questions originating from official practice tests, he helps you to understand what questions are asking, how the answers will be found, and, finally, what the answers are. Likewise, vocabulary reviews are done to make sure students can be ready for any type of literature on the test. While there is no true magic formula for the reading section, there is a way to cut down mistakes and control the test. Mr. Snyder taught me such a technique and it allowed me to get an excellent score on reading. I got a perfect 400.
I went into Dr. Li’s in 2017 as a hesitant student, but I came out two years later as an inspired young man, ready to take on the world. I learned how to read, how to write, how to solve, and, most importantly, how to think through his summer SAT programs. And for that, I cannot thank him or my teachers enough. It is unquestionable that no curriculum design can match his program if you are looking for real results. My testimony should be all the evidence that you need.