First Commandment: Build Your Own Boat
“It usually takes at least three months of sustained preparation to rock the SAT or ACT”
-Drew Valins, test prep coach
As Oscar season revs up, many of us are watching greatness on the silver screen. If you haven’t seen “Phantom Thread,” starring Daniel-Day Lewis, go see it. Once again this actor proves he is the best of his generation.
And how does he do it?
It’s pretty straightforward: He prepares.
But of course, DD Lewis (as I like to call him, pretending he’s a buddy of mine or something) is not ordinary in the way he prepares. He dives so deeply and fully into his roles that he almost becomes the character. This is called Method Acting, and Lewis is the reigning champion.
I’m thinking about Lewis because as a test prep coach, I encourage my students to be as prepared as they can be for test day. When DD chooses a role to play, he immerses himself in the material. In the film, “In the Name of the Father,” he plays a wrongly convicted prisoner and so to get into the role, he spent nights locked in solitary confinement in an abandoned prison.
Some folks will say: This guy is crazy. I think he’s totally inspiring.
Read more gruesome and wonderful tales about DD Lewis’ Method of
Preparing for the SAT, ACT, GRE or any big standardized test is the same. You have to commit some real time and effort to know the test, learn the content and the techniques, and then put it into regular practice.
Once again: Content, Technique, and Practice are The Three Pillars of Test Preparation
And once again, I recommend at least three months.
Let’s take DD as an inspiration for excellence in what we do. We don’t have to break our ribs, leave our partner, or fail to bathe (other examples of Lewis’ extreme method of preparation), but we do have to KNOW OUR STUFF, and there is just no way around it.
This is why “Build Your Boat” is the First Commandment of Standardized Test Preparation.
Stay tuned for next week’s Blog: Commandment #2: Deal with Anxiety
To get a pdf of Satellite’s Ten Commandments of Standardized Test Taking, click here.