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Critical Reading questions -Telfer

I spent the summer prior to my junior year of high school confined to a chair in the dining room solving basic geometry problems out of Barron’s SAT Math Workbook and passage based critical reading questions out of The Official SAT Study Guide. Little did I know, I was teaching myself the wrong techniques and ultimately setting myself up for mediocrity.

In September I decided to sign up for the PSAT to see where my self- studying would take me. That Saturday morning I walked out of the PSAT testing center and knew I had done something terribly wrong. Several months after my scores came back, my guidance counselor suggested I give Wavelength Tutoring and Test Prep a call. A week or so later I met Ms. Andrea Goldman and she made a huge difference in my approach to the SAT.

Andrea came over twice a week to help maximize my score. Tuesday’s were always exciting because we used dry erase boards. If I performed well on the homework Andrea would give me a brightly colored marker and when I was spectacular I got to choose which colored marker I would like to use. Throughout high school I took advanced math classes and thought solving algebraic equations would come to me as naturally as it did in middle school - I was wrong. We would spend hours correcting my algebraic imperfections and deciphering complex word problems. Andrea broke up verbose word problems and never failed to remind me to show all of my work.

On Thursday’s we would take out The Official SAT Study Guide and work on passage-based reading. Critical Reading was a struggle for me and it reflected in my SAT results. My poor performance was a direct result of my lack of interest in reading. My peers told me that critical reading is the most difficult section to improve relative to the other sections. Andrea was able to share her knowledge of the test and dissect sentences in order to help me focus on what the writers were trying to convey. She supplied me with shortcuts to solving sentence completions and taught me how to make effective flashcards. Within a month I was able to improve my critical reading score by one hundred points.

She also took the time to teach me the basics of writing an essay. Andrea customized her approach to best teach me the material. We would often share laughs over our favorite movies and novels as she helped me come up with examples to support my thesis statement. On late nights Andrea would even bring snacks to help me focus and bagels on Saturday’s just to say “good morning.” Often times I was Andrea’s last student of the day and she liked to stay a couple minutes later to help me get over my fear of taking the SAT.

When my scores came back I was so excited! In just over a month I was able to increase my score by one hundred and seventy points. Thanks to Andrea and the scores she helped me attain, I will be attending Cornell University in the fall, and was accepted into Johns Hopkins University, Carnegie Mellon University, and Wake Forest University.

During that stressful month of preparation, Andrea was as my cheerleader. Her enthusiasm was liberating and her confidence in my abilities encouraged me to work harder than I ever have in high school. Andrea loves to teach, her instruction is both content and strategy based, and her personality is warmer than anyone I have ever met.
Laura Telfer, Jackson Liberty High School 2014, Cornell University 2018 Jackson, Ocean County, NJ 08527