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Todd Shively

Cheesy SAT Prep Wisdom

My name is Todd Shively, and I will be bringing you SAT news, tips, tricks, and perspective. I have been teaching high school for close to fifteen years. Some of my former students went to Harvard. Some went to community college, maybe, but I only take any credit for those who went to tier-one colleges, not the blame for the ones who didn’t.

Before teaching, I did a master’s degree in religion, and before that I went to undergrad at Purdue University, where I couldn’t make up my mind. I began as an engineering student and made a slow slide into humanities. I squeezed four years into six, and finished with a major in English and a minor in math. Before schooling, like you, I took the SAT.

My score, by today’s standard, was average. I went to prom on Friday, awkwardly pecked my date on the lips while her mother was in the room, woke up on Saturday morning, and took the test. No one really prepared, least of all me.

Years later, when I began to tutor for a test-prep company, I couldn’t believe how significant the strategies were. You mean I could have raised my score a couple hundred points just by skipping questions in the right way? You mean the questions go from easy to hard in this section? I thought once I’d covered all the strategies, I’d be able to get a 1600, no problem.

I didn’t.

In fact, it took me about four complete practice tests before I felt the rhythms of the test and felt reasonably confident with nearly any question, and I am an adult with a fully-formed frontal lobe.

You aren’t.

My encouragement to you is this. The strategies that you will learn as you go through the Magoosh program will give you the tools that you need to reach your goal score. But unless you practice using those tools regularly, you may not.

So, as the old joke goes, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” (or Harvard or USC or Biola)?


About Todd Shively

Todd Shively is an ancient graduate of Purdue University, where he changed his mind so many times that he finished with a major in English and a minor in math. He has taught high school in three different states and currently teaches in Scotland, where he lives with his family. In his spare time he bakes his own sourdough bread and tries to work those carbs off doing Crossfit.

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