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“Hi, I’m so-and-so, and I’m a 1420”

When you’re known as an SAT guru, that’s the way some people introduce themselves at a party. Everyone remembers what they got on their SAT test (whether it’s out of 1600 or 2400).

That’s one of the lessons I learned from Elizabeth King, the author of one of the top-selling books in the college prep arena, Outsmarting the SAT.

Download the podcast from iTunes, or play it below:



I think you’ll enjoy the interview, whether you’re a student, a parent, a grammar nerd or a math geek, because we tackle the topic in a fun way, much like Elizabeth does in her book.

First we explore some of the questions that challenge conventional thinking about this test, and around the halfway point I dust off my high school brain and tries a few questions, so make sure you hear that part.

Elizabeth actually got her start as an actress before forming her own unique test-taking strategy and parlaying that into a tutoring service, then to a workbook, and finally into a top-selling book.

You’ve heard some of the big names… Is it really worth it to use services such as Kaplan and Princeton Review and can you really increase your score? It’s a hot topic right now, and you might be surprised what a study by the National Association of College Admission Counselors found.

As a successful tutor, some might question her strategy that she ‘gave away the farm’ and included nearly every last detail that she uses while tutoring and put it in the book. But it appears to be paying off, as her Amazon.com ranking has gone from 250,000 to the top 2,000 of all books listed. Check out her current Amazon rank.


1. The Culture of Fear. How the entire SAT test-taking environment has evolved into a culture of fear, and how to overcome it.

2. The truth about guessing.  Is it ever a good strategy to guess at an answer? How have things changed in the last 25 years?


3. Tutoring horror stories …Are today’s kids spoiled and just looking for the easy way out?

4. Why was the new grammar section was added in 2005, making the top score 2400? Hear Elizabeth’s theory.

5. What part of the test (math, grammar, verbal) is easiest to improve?

6. How can someone improve their vocabulary, and what parents can do to help their kids.

7. What seemingly painful process does a teacher from Mississippi do to encourage higher scores for his students?

8. “2 trains are speeding toward each other from opposite directions…” Does anyone ever come across this age-old question?

9. The one thing that completely psyches out students before they even take the test, and who she is partnering with to overcome it.

10. When Jim tries his hand at a few questions, does he have fun, or flashbacks?

So what’s the bottom line? Elizabeth gives the hard facts about what it really takes to succeed, and I agree and back it up with a real-life case study from a previous job illustrating true learning and understanding vs. memorizing.

Besides, when’s the last time you used the word didactic in sentence?


Read the full transcript here.


Buy the book and learn more at Elizabeth King Coaching.com

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