"A Perfect-Score Student Reveals How to Ace the Test" is emblazoned across the cover of this book by Shaan Patel. Apparently the author achieved a perfect SAT score and is now sharing his secrets. I haven't finished the book (454 pages) so I don't have much to say about the test-taking tips. I'll have to revisit this book in a future post to comment on those. This post is about a remark Mr. Patel makes in the first few pages. He is commenting on the fact that improving your SAT score involves a lot of work. There is no silver bullet. Even with help from a book, a course, or a tutor it will require some time and effort on the part of the student. But, he says, it is all worth it. "When I secluded myself in a library study room four days a week during a hot summer, did I ever think my effort would lead me to a 2400; admission to schools like Brown, Johns Hopkins and UC-Berkeley; more than $230,000 in college scholarships; and the opportunity to write a book about all of it one day?"
Wait.....what?? Four days a week all summer spent studying for the SAT? Seriously? I make money coaching kids for the SAT. When my students spend more time studying that can mean more money for me. And, yet, I'm still going to tell you not to do it. Think about what could be done with that kind of time. All of the volunteer work, the learning opportunities, the jobs, the creative endeavors one could undertake with a summer's worth of effort. If I were a college admissions officer, I would rather see a student spend a summer on any of those things than spend it studying for the SAT.
If you need to raise your score in order to be able to attend college AT ALL, then four days a week during the summer would be worth it. Especially since, at that level, any work you do will help you be successful in college after you get there. But if it's just a matter of getting into a particular school, I think you would be better off just spending a few hours a week on the SAT. Devote the rest of your time to something more constructive.