Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Perfect Score Project {a Blogging for Books review}

With two sons in high school, the whole SAT thing is certainly something 'out there' for me.  Scholarships, admission, whatever... the whole thing is scary and intimidating.

When I read about The Perfect Score Project: Uncovering the Secrets of the SAT, I thought maybe I could learn a little something.

Debbie Stier, the author of this book, is a mom of teens, and she worries too.  Probably more than I do.  Let me give you the publisher's synopsis though:
The Perfect Score Project is an indispensable guide to acing the SAT – as well as the affecting story of a single mom’s quest to light a fire under her teenage son.

It all began as an attempt by Debbie Stier to help her high-school age son, Ethan, who would shortly be studying for the SAT. Aware that Ethan was a typical teenager (i.e., completely uninterested in any test) and that a mind-boggling menu of test-prep options existed, she decided – on his behalf -- to sample as many as she could to create the perfect SAT test-prep recipe.

Debbie’s quest turned out to be an exercise in both hilarity and heartbreak as she took the SAT seven times in one year and in-between “went to school” on standardized testing. Here, she reveals why the SAT has become so important, the cottage industries it has spawned, what really works in preparing for the test and what is a waste of time.

Both a toolbox of fresh tips and an amusing snapshot of parental love and wisdom colliding with teenage apathy, The Perfect Score Project rivets. In the book Debbie does it all: wrestles with Kaplan and Princeton Review, enrolls in Kumon, navigates, meets regularly with a premier grammar coach, takes a battery of intelligence tests, and even cadges free lessons from the world’s most prestigious (and expensive) test prep company.

Along the way she answers the questions that plague every test-prep rookie, including: “When do I start?”...”Do the brand-name test prep services really deliver?”...”Which should I go with: a tutor, an SAT class, or self study?”...”Does test location really matter?” … “How do I find the right tutor?”… “How do SAT scores affect merit aid?”... and “What’s the one thing I need to know?”

The Perfect Score Project’s combination of charm, authority, and unexpected poignancy makes it one of the most compulsively readable guides to SAT test prep ever – and a book that will make you think hard about what really matters.
For me, more than the SAT advice, which was good, the book was valuable because Debbie never tries to make you feel she's got all the answers for either SAT prep or for parenting.  She makes mistakes, she learns a lot over the course of her experiment, and she kept me laughing besides.

I need to read real.  I try to write real here on this little blog, but lately, I don't pull that off real well either.  But so much out there is just a six-step checklist of all the things you need to do to turn out perfect children.  I always figure that I haven't met any perfect parents, so how could any of us/them possibly turn out perfect kids.

Debbie is refreshing because she is real.  She totally screws up in this test-prep gig of hers.  She keeps on keeping on, adapting a bit yet doing what she thinks is best.  And isn't that what we all try to do?

This isn't a book about taking the SAT.  It is a book about succeeding in the important things.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

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