College Prep Genius is an SAT and PSAT/NMSQT prep course
and more. Students will learn test-taking skills and tricks specific
to these vital pre-college exams. In addition to sections corresponding
to the three areas of the SAT, there is information on how to
practice and how to take the real test. The quest for scholarships
is also covered. The intent of these materials is to significantly
raise test scores. Author Jean Burk is a homeschool mom who has
successfully seen her two children to college with the strategies
she has learned, and she shares those strategies in this course.
It is important to note that these materials are designed ideally
for the high school freshman, but they can be used by older high
school students as well. The earlier the better!
The textbook can be used alone or with the DVD course. The first
step is taking a practice test to assess your strengths and weaknesses.
Then you work through the text, section by section and practice
those section skills in College Board materials (such as The
Official SAT Study Guide ), then two or three sections, until
you can complete full tests. It is suggested that you use page
protectors and wipe-off pens so that you can reuse the test pages.
A thorough discussion of the SAT and PSAT/NMSQT makes up the first
part of the book. This is not to be skipped, as it not only explains
these tests but also contains general techniques to be used throughout
The layout of the textbook is clear and organized. Important points
are bolded in the sidebars. When you read Jean Burk's tips, you
gain confidence immediately. She has a way of making it seem simple
by telling you exactly what you need to know and how to go about
taking the test. Winning strategies "hidden" in the included acronyms
and test question examples that clearly illustrate points in the
text make this book a gem. The acronyms are not completely intuitive.
For example, the math acronym includes " Y ou
should eliminate answer choices that you know are wrong," when
an E word for eliminate might have been
more useful. However, the acronym phrases do pertain to the test
sections and should stick in students' minds.
The critical reading section covers passage-based reading and
sentence completion. A hallmark of College Prep Genius is
breaking down the overwhelming SAT into doable problems. Example
test questions are given with clear explanations on how to determine
the correct answers and avoid common traps.
The math section is demystifying since the author proposes it
is really a test of critical thinking skills and logic rather than
actual mathematics. Basic strategies, shortcuts, hidden patterns,
specific rules, and the student response section are covered. Again,
I was blown away by the suggestions in this section of the book.
The writing section of College Prep Genius spends time
on the essay, with plenty of concise information on how to write
a good essay and lots of practice essay topics. The sentence error
chapter again contains a wealth of information for the student.
Improving sentences is the last section covered.
At the end of the book is a section devoted to journaling your
SAT practice and experience with reproducible template pages. Three
appendices wrap up the text: charts of prefixes, root words, and
suffixes; a math terms glossary; and My Motivation Test. This is
a personality profile which determines which of eight categories
best describes the student. Included are corresponding attack plans
for reaching exam prep and execution goals.
I also received the four-disc Master the SAT Class DVD
set, a ten-hour course taught by the author. There are 12 lessons
(45-60 minutes each) which closely follow the reading, math, and
writing sections of the textbook. The DVD set is versatile and
can be used by individuals, classrooms, or co-ops and by homeschool,
private school, or public school students. Students will need the
textbook, workbook, pencils, and downloadable DVD homework to use
this course. I wish the 12 DVD lessons corresponded to the 19 chapters
in the book or that the book table of contents referenced the DVD
chapters/episodes by number as well.
In the workbook, the "How to Use this Book" intro has two pages
of straightforward step-by-step instruction for the student. Also
needed is The Official SAT Study Guide by The College
Board (first or second edition).
As we are embarking on the high school to college adventure, I'm
looking forward to using College Prep Genius with our
son. I'm excited about the possibilities and opportunities it offers!
If you have a high schooler who is headed for college, I strongly
recommend you investigate College Prep Genius.