Michelle H, Blair HS, 2320 Oct, '15

Name: Michelle H
School: Blair HS
Grade: Junior
SAT: Oct 2015
Critical Reading: 750
Math: 800
Grammar: 770
Essay: 10

When I registered for Dr. Li’s SAT summer camp, I was skeptical about the outcome. I tested myself with SAT practice tests and my scores were consistently between 2100 and 2200. I thought a significant boost of my SAT score was not possible. However, after having heard from many of my friends that went to Dr. Li for SAT Prep generally improve their score by about 200 points, I decided to give it a try.

I took two summer sessions of Dr. Li’s camp, one with both math and English and the other with only English. When I tested myself at home with the SAT practice tests, I made about one or two mistakes on the math section so I knew that I needed help on not making careless mistakes. Dr. Li really helped with that. His training of intensive math questions from the Math Olympiad and his detailed explanations of how to solve the problems really helped strengthen my foundation and problem solving abilities. After his lessons, I was surprised to find that I constantly achieved full score on the math section.

My major weakness in the SAT test was in the critical reading and grammar sections. I had difficulty in doing the vocabulary for the fill-in-the-blank questions and I often lost focus when I was reading the articles. At Dr. Li’s summer camp, Dr. Thomson completely changed that. He gave out vocabulary packets that listed words that are commonly tested on the SAT. He also handed out a daily list of extraneous words that teach you the roots of the word so when worse comes to worst and you don’t know the word, you can guess by examining the root of the word. Dr. Thomson not only explained the words, but also gave background history on how the words came into being. He put the words into context so it was easier to remember and visualize how the word was used in conversation and literature. Dr. Thomson helped me overcome my fear of the vocabulary section. I went from a person who frequently made many mistakes in the vocabulary section to a person who did not make any mistakes in that section.

Dr. Thomson also helped me on understanding the subtleties of an author’s tone and use of language. Before, I would do process of elimination where I would frequently choose the wrong answer of the two remaining answer choices. I never understood why my answer was always second-to-best. What was the difference between the two choices? Dr. Thomson answered all of my questions and dissected the nuances between the answer choices. He gave detailed strategies and helped me pick apart the author’s argument before I even got to the questions. By using his strategy, I felt that these SAT articles, which had looked ambiguous in the past, became much simpler and clearer.

My significant improvement in the grammar section was also mainly attributed to Dr. Thomson. He drilled us on those grammar rules we had to remember and categorized all the SAT questions into different groups so we knew which strategies to apply when handling a certain type of question. He explained every question extremely clearly and expanded my grammar knowledge at the same time. Through his lessons, he not only taught me correct grammar for the tests, but also taught me the importance of grammar in writing and speaking.

Both Dr. Li and Dr. Thomson helped me to avoid the traps that the SAT commonly makes people fall for. I feel that my math, reading, grammar, and essay writing are all strengthened. The knowledge and skills I gained from the SAT summer camp helped boost my score to above a 2300. I know I will benefit from the SAT summer camp for a very long time in my life. Because of this, I truly appreciate Dr. Li and Dr. Thomson.