Praise for Standing Out from students, parents, professionals, and education experts
Standing Out reshaped the way I viewed the SAT and turned it from just a test to into an opportunity to better myself. The strategies allowed me to approach the test confidently and improve my score by 140 points, enough to reach my goal and get into the range of Ivy League schools. The most valuable part of Standing Out was that it taught me skills and strategies on how to learn in a general sense so that I have gained immensely more out of my college experience and it will continue to benefit me for the rest of my life.
- Diana Sheedy, Harvard Class of 2017
I wholeheartedly agree with the philosophy behind Standing Out. Too many test prep guides today focus on tricks to beat the test rather than building skills in reading and math that will serve students well in college and beyond. By focusing on genuine skill development, this book ensures that you achieve top scores while developing patterns of thought that will lead you to greater heights.
- Ryan Haynes, Ph.D. in neuroscience, co-founder of Osmosis, Marshall Scholar, and M.D. candidate at Johns Hopkins University
The authors have captured the essence of learning that it is a journey of discovery rather than a path to the top. Through a unique combination of information, problem solving strategies, and examples, pointing out the vocabulary learned along the way, Standing Out explores that skills are more important than scores and you can achieve both by carefully applying the wisdom shared by Shiv and Blake.
- Barbara "Bobbi" Kurshan: Executive Director of Academic Innovation, Penn Graduate School of Education
Standing Out is an accurate, honest discussion of many commonly perceived myths on test-taking strategy and a valuable resource on the route to standardized examination greatness. The escalator step philosophy is a compelling framework that I employ on a regular basis but wish I had known in high school.
- Michael Batista, Co-founder, The Smartphone Physical, and Doctoral Candidate in Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University
It is refreshing to read a book that de-emphasizes test scores as an end in themselves, but rather as an opportunity for self-improvement. That being said, it provides all the necessary strategies – and more – to excel in both.
- Malorie Snider, Rhodes Scholar and perfect scorer on SAT
The authors provide both highly practical advice and idealistic justification on how and why to increase your standardized test scores. They base their strategies not only on personal experience scoring perfect on the SAT and ACT, but also on years of teaching other students how to do the same. Besides taking practice tests, you should understand how you can most efficiently approach the problems and how the test-makers formulated them. Shiv and Blake provide this kind of invaluable insight.
- Gen and Kelly Tanabe, co-authors of The Ultimate Guide to America's Best Colleges
Standing Out takes a refreshing and unusually effective approach to doing well on the SAT and ACT, getting into college, and most importantly developing as a person. Throughout the book Gaglani and Cecil clearly lay out dozens of core strategies that helped them achieve perfect scores on both the SAT and ACT. I encourage students, parents, and teachers to read this book, which extends well beyond test prep.
- Jason Shah, Founder, I Need A Pencil
Standing Out presents a fascinating and uncommon program that offers much, much more than test prep! It goes beyond communicating and drilling test strategies, deemphasizing test scores as an end in themselves and instead emphasizing the importance of developing mathematical intuition, critical reading, and vocabulary as important life skills. The book also features many related lessons, including the value of establishing good habits for lifelong learning, how investing small amounts of time regularly improving yourself can reap dividends for a lifetime, and the importance of being able to teach something as a means to fully understanding it.
- Radha Bansal, Parent
During my career I've been fortunate to play many roles, ranging from education technology entrepreneur to politician, and have realized that skills such as public-speaking and writing have been common denominators in my success. I would not have been able to communicate effectively and understand innovations without a foundation of rigorously improving and testing my skills through education. Shiv and Blake hit the nail on the head with Standing Out: focus on developing your skills and being the best you can be. The rewards will follow.
- Steve Welch, co-founder of DreamIt Ventures and KinderTown
As students constantly look for new insights and a leg up on the SAT and ACT, Shiv Gaglani and Blake Cecil have written a finely tuned strategic and practical approach to tests that may otherwise drive parents and kids around the bend. Having been incredibly accomplished in their educational paths, they herald back to what also made them successful test takers and they share that knowledge with their audience through carefully constructed modules of information. Positioned for the student who really wants to excel, not just slide by, this book is a valuable tool.
- Laurie Racine, co-founder and Managing Director of Startl Education
I highly recommend Standing Out for any student who wants to achieve his or her maximum potential. I especially enjoyed the insights about confidence and testy mentality. A lot of students study and prepare diligently, but in order to stand out and achieve results, students need to trust in their preparation and take tests with confidence. Standing Out helps you not only prepare for tests, but also how to take them.
- DJ Chung, author, Build Like an Ant: How My Mom Helped Me Become Valedictorian
The strategies detailed in Standing Out gave me the tools to improve not only my critical reading score, but also gave me confidence in my problem solving abilities.
- Sean W. Carroll, Cornell Class of 2017
One of the most important lessons I took from Standing Out is to not look at the SAT as a ‘stepping stone'; I will now always view the SAT and other standardized tests as opportunities for learning and gaining foundational skills, instead of just requirements to be met for the next level of education. This strategy has in turn transferred over to my schoolwork, in which I focus more on the attainment of knowledge than on achieving certain required grades. The strategies in Standing Out are truly applicable for all standardized tests and tests in general! For example, one of the math strategies for multiple-choice questions mentioned in the book is eliminating the answer choices. This technique really cut down simple algebra mistakes I was making and helped me get a higher score on the math section of the SAT.
- Varun Bansal, Rice Class of 2017
With all the heated debate over standardized testing, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that these tests are designed to measure what you should know to get the most out of life. And so, rather than blindly prepare for the test, focus on preparing yourself properly for life as you also try to do well on the tests.
- Andrew Ackerman, Managing Director of DreamIt Ventures and Former Product Manager at Kaplan Test Preparation
On “Silverturtle’s Guide to SAT and Admissions Success"
Blake's work has always been exceptionally logical, precise, and thorough. He cuts right to the core of what you need to know and how to approach each section of the exam. More importantly, he's honest and direct, speaking from one student to another. He won't waste your time on flashy tricks that don't actually work, instead focusing on real strategies that are tried and true -- ones that he himself used successfully, and ones that worked for me and so many of my friends and thousands of others after we read his online guide. If you really want to score high on the SAT, then his advice is for you. I highly recommend it.
- Grace Zhang, Yale Class of 2015
Blake has done an amazing job in his guide by cutting through the information that is not necessary and instead focusing on the essential skills and strategies required to do your best on the SAT. I thought the entire guide was enormously helpful, but the grammar section specifically was clearly a winner in our house. My daughter used this section and tested herself after mastering the information in the book. She was able to recognize any grammar error the SAT threw at her and she increased her Writing score by 100 points! I used this book to casually tutor two other students. After working with them only two times they both increased their scores as well; one by 70 and the other by 80 points! They also both indicated that their AP Language teachers noticed a difference in their timed writing exercises and essays for class. Blake’s guide simplifies grammar rules and breaks them down into very recognizable and easily understood concepts. He zeros in on the most common errors encountered on the SAT and arms students with the knowledge needed to easily spot the correct grammatical usage. I highly recommend the whole guide for the best preparation possible.
- Elizabeth Bergmann, Parent