Why take Schulman’s SAT prep class?

By Dennis Schulman on

Parents sometimes ask me what the difference is between my class and some other class (usually the name of a big company).  I say the difference is me. I’m often surprised how adults can forget their own experiences in school. By far the most important element in the success of a class is the teacher. Everything else is very secondary. What makes a good SAT teacher are the same qualities that make a good teacher in any field of study – experience, enthusiasm for the subject, knowledge of the subject, ability to communicate simply and in a variety of ways, making learning interesting and fun!

I have been offering these classes for about thirty years now. I also have experience teaching math in public and private high schools and junior college. I know this test very well – I achieved a perfect score when I took it with the high school students some years back. I try to make my classes entertaining and fun, to keep students alert and engaged. They often remark that the three hours went quickly. In math, I offer students a number of ways to solve problems, encouraging them to use common sense as much as possible.

I think one of my strongest teaching skills is the ability to communicate in a simple way that students at all levels can understand. Teaching SAT prep is very different from teaching classroom math. The most important thing in SAT prep is finding ways to get the right answer. Often the best solutions for many students are creative, common sense solutions that get around knowing the math principles. I recall one question on a practice test that basically asked which segment in a math diagram was longer. Most students could not remember the geometry principle that would get them the answer. But one student got the right answer by measuring the segments! Although you don’t have a ruler to use, you can improvise and since the diagrams are drawn to scale, unless stated otherwise, the longer segment had to actually be longer. I always appreciate when students solve problems by thinking rather than trying to remember a formula.