The Perfect Score Project (Paperback)

One Mother's Journey to Uncover the Secrets of the SAT

By Debbie Stier

Harmony, 9780307956682, 295pp.

Publication Date: September 9, 2014



Save yourself time, money, and frustration by reading The Perfect Score Project, one of the most compulsively readable guides to SAT test-prep ever written, and a down-to-earth reminder of the things that really matter in life.

The project began as an attempt by Debbie Stier to help her teenage son, Ethan, who would shortly be studying for the SAT. Aware that Ethan was a typical teenager (i.e., uninterested in any test, especially a 4-hour standardized exam) and would be facing a much more competitive admissions process and economy than when she was in high school, she decided to climb into the trenches with him. She took the SAT seven times in one year, ultimately compiling an accessible and relatable guide that is both a consumer report of fresh tips and an amusing snapshot of parental love and wisdom colliding with teenage apathy. Stier quickly became hooked, and her quest turned into an exercise in both hilarity and heartbreak as she persisted in deciphering the mind-boggling menu of test prep options. In The Perfect Score Project Debbie tries it all, from Kaplan, to Kumon and The Khan Academy; she meets with a premier grammar coach, takes a battery of intelligence tests, and studies with the world's most prestigious (and expensive) test prep company. She answers all the questions that overwhelm students and parents facing the SAT: "When do I start?" "Does brand-name test-prep work?" "Do I need a tutor, a class, or can I self-study?" "What's the one thing I need to know?" and, "What's the secret to teenage motivation?"

The Perfect Score Project has inspired thousands of parents, students and teachers to connect and transform the most reviled right of passage in a high school student's life into a positive experience. This book provides concrete research on the best ways to succeed on a test that serves as the last big milestone before kids leave for college.

About the Author

Debbie Stier is a single mother of two teenagers whose book publishing career spanned over two decades. Her website,, has become a major hub for SAT advice, and her book, featured in the New Yorker, USA Today, and The Atlantic. Stier has appeared as guest on The Today Show, the CBS Early Show, Bloomberg, NPR, and ABC, to talk about standardized testing and The Perfect Score Project. She lives with her son and daughter in New York City, but you can find her writing daily advice about education and SAT test prep on her website.