The SAT is Here, Again!


On October 11, there will be another test administration of the SAT.  The test is not just taking place in Lodi, but also throughout the United States.  Obviously, the test is nerve wracking and everyone despises to take this four hour test that helps determine their  future.  No matter how much someone prepares for the SAT, it seems as if he or she will never truly be ready.  The best advice comes from the very own SAT department at Lodi High School, one member being Ms. Gillenson, who teaches the English section of the test. The lovely Ms. Gillenson shared some of her tips and her own personal experience with the SAT.

“I took the SAT twice during my Junior year. I was nervous leading up to both tests, but the first time could have been a bit disastrous, because I was recovering from my yearly attack of Strep and was on some crazy medicine. Fortunately, I find Standardized tests oddly relaxing, probably because with such explicit instructions, there’s so little ambiguity. I had no choice but to simply get it done, so to speak. Unfortunately for me (as I love to write), I took the SAT in the days before there was an essay component, and my highest score was 1310/1600. I am aware that I’m in the minority in terms of liking booklets and Scantrons, so for those of you who are nothing like me, see my tips!”

Ms. Gillenson’s Tips!

  1. Regarding [physiological] SAT prep, get plenty of sleep two nights before the test. I say two nights before because anyone with an attack of nerves may toss and turn on SAT Eve.
  2. On SAT Day, make sure you stick with your regular routine. While I’m a proponent of eating a good breakfast, if you aren’t a breakfast eater, don’t force down an egg and cheese while driving to school. Make sure you’re hydrated but not excessively so (enough said).
  3. In general, DRESS COMFORTABLY! This is not a fashion show, and anything that could be distracting (an itchy sweater, too-tight jeans, fabrics that trap heat) will make you feel awful and will shake your concentration. Soft, looser items (and layers to account for temperature fluctuations) will keep you feeling good and able to focus on the task at hand.
  4. Finally, just breathe and listen to your gut instincts. If a question is taking you a disproportionate amount of time to think about, skip it and move on to other questions. You don’t get bonus points for correctly answering the hardest items, and lingering needlessly will both cause stress and take time away from things you will feel more comfortable answering.

Another great person to talk to about SAT preparation was Mr. Pearlman, who teaches the math portion of the test. We got a whole 30 minute interview with the math whiz, just talking about the “monster of the SAT.”  Even though Mr. Pearlman is an intelligent man, he had a bad experience with the SAT. His first question involved “gippies and goopies.” Those are definitely not words we hear every day, or ever. Mr. Pearlman talks about how this memory was the root of his SAT hatred. He jokes about how SAT stands for Students Are Tricked. One of the best pieces of advice he gave was to take the SAT classes that Lodi offers seriously. Most high schools don’t offer these courses, but Lodi does!  Mr. Pearlman’s tutoring skills have gotten his students millions in scholarships, even free rides to their first choice college.  He also recommends checking out his book, SAT Math Handbook of Tricks and Strategies; you can find it online on Amazon or

The SAT is a scary test and most people feel sick at the very name of it. One person that can definitely verify that is Ms. Getrajdman.  The popular English teacher also was very helpful in talking about the frightening test. She shares her personal experience with it and her very own tips for taking it.

“My first experience with the SAT was sort of a disaster. I took it in Spring of my junior year of high school–March 2007. I’ve never been a good test taker and everyone always said that the March SAT was harder than the May SAT. Regardless of whether or not there was any validity to that claim, it freaked me out. I don’t just mean I was nervous; I literally got sick the night before the test because I was so anxious. Here’s the advice I wish people gave me..”

Ms. Getrajdman’s Tips!

  1. Everybody always tells you to get a good night’s sleep before the test. The reality of the situation is that, unless you’re going to bed at a regular hour for at least two weeks before the test, it’s going to be incredibly hard for you to force yourself to go to sleep at 10:00pm the night before your test date. Start practicing those good habits early on so that your body isn’t surprised when you’re suddenly trying to get a solid eight hours of rest.
  2. Eat breakfast that morning. The test is ridiculously long and the breaks are very short, so even though you’re allowed to bring snacks into the testing room, you won’t be allotted much time to eat them. Being hungry during the test is a bad idea because you’ll have a hard time focusing on anything except how hungry you are.
  3. As for the test itself, get through vocabulary questions quickly so that you save yourself more time for the passage-based reading. This is especially important for people who read at a slower pace.
  4. In the end, don’t forget that this is just a test. If things don’t go the way you hoped, I promise you that it’s not the end of the world. You are allowed to take it again, and colleges don’t rely solely on your SAT scores to determine whether or not you’re a good candidate for admission. The test is important, but it isn’t everything.

Ms. Getrajdman adds, “If you think I’m lying, know that I took the test three times before I got a score I was comfortable with. I got into college, I got a job, and I’m doing alright.”

steven pearlman
Mr. Pearlman’s book, which shows you all the tricks!