FullSizeRender (72)

When I first took the SATs, I feared the worst. I feared that I would forget that after dividing polynomials, I would have to simplify, and I did (forget). I feared that my strategic use of “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” would fail, and it did (miserably). And, I feared that if I did poorly, I would perpetually be compared to X, Y, Z, the one who got accepted to H, was VAL of her graduating class, and who was off to get her Ph.D, and I was (daily).

Years later, I realized that while the last two fears were inherent to the test, the former was something that was actually within my control. After teaching test prep for over a decade, I’ve collected a couple gems of wisdom:

1) fear stems from being a bad test taker

2) absorbing knowledge via osmosis does not work (darn!)

The key to this epiphany was recalibrating how I viewed standardized tests, and understanding that there was a method to this madness. Understanding the test from the perspective of the test makers equipped me with the newfound confidence to approach each question with a different attitude.  Now, instead of breaking into cold sweat when I was asked whether the secondary or tertiary meaning of a word was apt, I saw it as an opportunity to showcase to the test takers my ability to decode the traps.

Today, not only am I amused by the transparency of the “trick” questions, but I find the test to be… dare I say… fun?  It’s kind of like in 2nd grade when Smarty McSmartypants challenges you to recite all the colors of the rainbow.  Now, instead of hyperventilating as you did before you “decoded” the trick to this question, you cannot wait to shout out each color (and in sequential order!) Why? Because you have prudently invoked the mnemonic device ROYGBIV, and have decisively “cracked the code.”

That’s what we aim to do here at Decoded Prep.  We want to empower you to decode and speak test prep fluently.