Debbie Stier was stymied. The Irvington mom wanted to sign up her 16-year-old son, Ethan, for an SAT tutorial program—but which one? “There were so many choices,” she says. “I decided to get in the trenches.” Stier decided to try out the different available test-prep methods herself and take the SAT each time it was offered this past year to evaluate their efficacy—that’s seven tests at three hours and 45 minutes each. “My goal is to achieve a perfect score, or get as close to it as possible,” says Stier, who, in March of this past year, launched perfectscoreproject.com, after having left her job as the senior VP/associate publisher at HarperStudio. Stier’s site chronicles her experience and her scores. As of press time, Stier had taken seven SATs, with the following results:
Stier skipped The Princeton Review test prep because, she says, “I had trouble finding people who improved much using it.” Her conclusions thus far? “Erica Meltzer of ultimatesatverbal.blogspot.com owns the writing and reading sections. And my math score jumped the most with Stacey Howe-Lott of Red Horse Tutoring, from the forty-ninth percentile to the sixtieth percentile.” The best part of her experience to date? “I’ve bonded with my son. It’s so stressful to study for and take the SAT; it becomes less so if you have someone to go through it with.”
*According to Stier, there were numerous issues with this test including noise from an adjacent SAT II test room; desks too small to hold test book, answer book, and calculato; and a proctor who didn’t keep proper time, lopping five minutes off the reading section.