Published in February 2014 by Harmony Books, an imprint of Harper
So here I was, five months in and back to square one: confused, confronting too many options, and feeling overwhelmed and borderline frantic.
I picked up Debbie Steir’s The Perfect Score after years of following her blog and reading about her journey to earn the perfect SAT score. Steir is not some teenager who’s trying to get into her dream college. She’s a middle-aged, divorced, single mother of two teens, who came up with the idea of taking the SAT in hopes of inspiring her son to start studying for the test. She didn’t take the SAT once. She took it seven times over the course of a year.
Steir is passionate, enthusiastic, and focused as she went through her year learning and testing. I love reading someone’s journey as they learned a new hobby or area of expertise. Steir’s journey was no exception. She asked from help from friends, strangers online, and researched as much as she could. The author also combined her experiences with what she learned about the history of the SAT and tips that will help parents and students who have to take the test in the next few years. No stone was left unturned as she learned as much as possible, trying out various techniques from hiring tutors to trying Kumon to using the College Board blue books.
Halfway through this book, I stand to myself “This shit is crazy.” No seriously.
What I thought was crazy is the pressure that is put on high schoolers (and some middle schoolers) to get high scores to get into decent colleges. There were times that I needed to take a deep breath. The author herself realizes that the key to doing well on the SATs is mastering math and English before time. Way before time. Mastering a subject means having a strong foundation first. This was something that not everyone has including Steir herself.
The author manages to inspire her son and learns a thing or two about herself in the end.
The Perfect Score is an eye-opening and engaging read that stands out among memoirs about an author’s “special” year. If you have a kid who will take the SATs in a few years, this is the book you need to read. My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.