Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 11
 
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
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It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton


EXPERT PREP: “We are set apart by our content and method. The program fosters diversity, tailors itself to the student and is very individualized.” Karl Schellscheidt is owner and co-founder of ePrep, the video-based test program to help students prepare for the SAT and PSAT tests.

ePrep, Video-Based Instruction Helps Students Prepare for SAT

Karl Schellscheidt’s education background is impressive and extensive. A list of his degrees includes a B.S.E. in civil engineering from Princeton, a masters in education from Seton Hall, and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

He practiced law at Derchert LLP in Princeton until 2002, when as he says, “I left to follow my heart and teach. I then got so busy tutoring kids privately that I had to turn some away. That led to the ePrep on-line video-based system.”

ePrep helps students prepare for the SAT and PSAT. It can help kids of all ability levels reach their educational goals by offering expert instruction and providing the knowledge and strategies proven to maximize test scores. Using a well-established “test- grade-review” methodology, continued practice, and an on-line video-based format, ePrep makes connecting with an expert affordable and possible anytime and from virtually anywhere in the world.

Mr. Schellscheidt’s love of teaching continued to surface throughout his career. He had tutored from the time he graduated from Princeton, and later taught at the Hun School and at Rutgers.

Academic Standard

“I’ve been tutoring part- or full-time for 17 years. I like meeting kids and helping them succeed,” he explains. “I’ve tutored kids from the same family, and there has been lots of great word-of-mouth. When you engage in preparing for an activity like the SAT, you can see improvement in a short time. I really enjoy that.

“The SAT is a good way to separate kids by ability,” he continues. “I am one of the people out there in the SAT world who truly believes the college board has set an appropriate and high academic standard for the students. If kids prepare for the SAT properly, they not only can improve their scores, but gain important learning and study skills.”

Headquartered at 340 Wall Street, ePrep has gotten off to an impressive start. Mr. Schellscheidt points out that there are four options available. The first is totally electronic in which students purchase the product and receive test booklets and videos in the mail. Students will take the test, register answers on a paper with a pencil, just as will be the case during the actual test. The answers will be graded electronically, with commentary by education experts.

The second option is a hybrid program in which the same package is purchased, but with the added component of meeting with Mr. Schellscheidt once a week for private tutoring. He also gives the student a weekly on-line assignment.

A third possibility enables students, who have purchased the ePrep package, to come into the office, and take the on-line test under Mr. Schellscheidt’s supervision.

The fourth option is one-on-one private tutoring with Mr. Schellscheidt. In this case, he notes, “When a student first comes in, I’ll give a practice test for 20 to 25 minutes in math, critical reading, or writing. Then, I’ll grade the test. We’ll review the wrong answers, the ones that were skipped, the right answers, but that were guessed, and also the right ones that took the student too long to complete.”

These sessions are two hours, and Mr. Schellscheidt emphasizes the importance of repetition and practice. “The tutoring session consists of practice, grading, and review. The more practice you’ve had, the better you will do.”

More Practice

Some of his new students have never taken the SAT; others have, but need more practice, he notes. “If you get expert help and guidance, you can reach your goal quicker. If the kids work on one or two subjects, I can typically make a difference in five weeks. With more time, I can change thinking and problem-solving, primarily by practice tests and review and by demonstrating how to approach the problem. The program is designed to incorporate practice by doing.”

Mr. Schellscheidt’s private students from the class of 2007 were accepted in such colleges and universities as Brown, Bucknell, Colgate, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Georgetown, NYU, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania. His private students are primarily from the Princeton and Montgomery area, and on-line students come from all over the world.

“The internet has changed things,” says Mr. Schellscheidt. “There’s so much more access. With our program, students can access on-line expert teachers in offered subject areas. They will get feedback from the computer.”

He adds that ePrep’s program does a lot more than grade the test. As the student works through the course, ePrep continually analyzes the student’s potential, directs his or her efforts, and tracks progress. An electronic “study hall” offers more than 100 subject lessons on math, critical reading, writing, and SAT strategies.

“Most test prep programs teach by telling students how to answer questions,” says Mr. Schellscheidt. “ePrep’s expert teachers increase learning by showing students how to answer questions.”

On the video, he provides demonstrations in various areas, including how to do fractions, solve equations, etc. “I will also add commentary, such as ‘If you missed this question, you probably made a careless error. This is an important question type. It’s on every test.’”

Standard Package

ePrep has initiated pilot programs in six public schools in the U.S., including New Jersey, and has received an enthusiastic response from teachers and students alike.

The standard package offers four full-length SAT practice tests in math, critical reading, and writing for $399. A premier edition, with eight full-length tests, is $599. There are 1500 videos in the program, created by Mr. Schellenscheidt.

“One of my goals is to help level the playing field,” he points out. “I want to get this product to as many disadvantaged kids as possible. I look forward to doing this.

“There is no other company in the world with on-line video-based courses for test prep,” he continues. “We are the first on-line video-based test prep company created by education experts. The main point is that we’re doing this is in a very novel way, in a way that is cost-effective, in a way that will help kids increase their SAT scores, and prepare for college and beyond. We are distinguished by the way we help kids learn, including content, problem-solving, and thinking skills. These are test-taking strategies that can help not only with the SAT, but in college and later in life.”

Mr. Schellscheidt’s hours are by appointment. (609) 924-2263. Website: www.eprep.com.

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