1590/Aug 17'/JH/Severna Park

Last Summer, I could attend Dr. Li’s SAT Prep class for only two weeks due to my distance. This past August, about one year after I took the class, I took the SAT and received a 1590, with a 800 on math and a 790 on English. I got a 8/6/8 on the essay portion. I wish I could have a longer exposure as the learning impact goes well beyond the SAT score.


Dr. Li’s SAT Summer Session was my first real look at the SAT and my first time encountering many of the test’s formatting details and instructions. From the class, I learned of how the new SAT was now evenly divided between 1 math section and 1 English section, and that it placed more emphasis on math than the previous version. Dr. Li made this very clear to us the first day and was intent on making sure we understood the ins and outs of the test.

A schedule that rotated through each topic of the test (math, English, and essay) every day allowed me to thoroughly understand each section of the test and pace myself with an equal distribution of each subject.


Math is a section that is very concrete but requires that you are 100% familiar with all the concepts, so the numerous amounts of practice tests I did in those two weeks really helped to introduce me to the different types of questions. Dr. Li, the most energetic teacher I’ve had to date, taught us that overthinking the test questions was a surefire way that students get stumped on the test.  For each type of problem, he went through the tricks that try to stump the test-taker, and then a shortcut method to maximize efficiency on each problem. We learned that for every problem, there was always a more efficient, easier alternative than what we originally thought!


English review also helped to kickstart my study process and familiarize the 4 different types of reading comprehension questions, and how to tackle each type. Our extensive practice tests and comprehensive review allowed me to analyze what the test-makers were seeking to show with each question, and I soon became attuned to the pattern of how to look for responses throughout the passage.


As for the essay, I had never even read a prompt before, so going through the example essays and learning the formula for tackling an essay was essential. The practice essays we did on a wide range of topics exposed me to different strategies I could apply to each one. As I did more and more, and received scores on each one, I could fine-tune my essay writing strategies and figure out how to categorize my thinking into each logical pathway.


Two weeks at Dr. Li’s camp taught me a lot about the ins and outs of the SAT, but it also jump-started my mindset surrounding how to tackle such a test. With each tip, trick and practice test handed back, I learned that the SAT was not an impossible exam, it was simply a test that I had the ability to dissect and analyze after countless hours, to the point where it could be a piece of cake.