Chapter 1: Introduction

Welcome to Wizard’s Workshop.  I am often asked is “Wizard” just a logo or is there a story behind it.  There’s a story.  When we were a fledgling organization in 1995, the first school district to adopt the program was Charlotte County Schools in Florida.  Of course, I was excited to hear if my innovative approach to the SAT helped the students.  (The ACT program came two years later.)  So, I met with the administrators, teachers, and, most importantly, the students who tried out “Coach Bob’s SAT Course.”  A young woman exclaimed, “Our scores went up so much, you must be a magician, a wizard or something!”  Another student agreed and said she was a pretty good artist and offered to draw what I would look like if I were really a wizard–the beginning of my logo.

Then I asked the students why they thought their scores had improved so much (an average of over 180 points).  One student said it was a “revelation” as he learned how test writers develop questions that are designed to fool the test taker.  Another exclaimed that it “demystified” the test; it eliminated surprises on test day.  As a result, I became “Wizard” and my first  test-taking program received its new title: Revelations: Demystifying the SAT.  I went on to write Demystifying courses for the ACT and state standardized tests with courses for not only high school students but also elementary and middle school students as well.  In 2003, the SAT and ACT programs were merged into a 78-page manual.  Today, Demystifying the SAT & ACT is a 300 page manual, 124 videos, and 124 Wizard Reviews on the Internet.  Let’s get on with your training.

This first chapter will explain what every great test taker knows.  You are going to learn how to approach the test in an effective way that is as close to fun as possible.  I hope it is at least “enjoyable and rewarding.”  I am going to help you understand the rules the test writers follow and strategies they use when developing the test.  Doing so will help you realize the SAT and ACT tests are simply a type of game; the more you know how test writers develop the test, the more you will be prepared for test day by learning strategies that counteract the test writer’s job.  In short, your game plan will level the playing field by providing you with a new test-taking approach and helping eliminate surprises on test day.

Developing your game plan involves a variety of resources:

  • Over 130 short, to-the point videos,
  • Companion Wizard Reviews.
  • A comprehensive student manual (separate, printable pdf files for each chapter),
  • Optional small-group instruction and/or tutoring with one of our coaches and
  • Perhaps teachers at your school who have been through my training program.

A few words about the Wizard Reviews:

They were developed in the summer of 2020.  The Reviews were beta-tested with students who provided valuable feedback and had high praise for how enjoyable and useful that have been.  Don’t forget; we always look forward to your emails providing feedback about the Reviews and all of the other resources we provide.

To begin, the Reviews are optional and you don’t have to use them.  I strongly encourage you to complete each one, print the results (questions and right answers.)

Each question on the Reviews is answered in its companion video.  The questions are sequential and in sync with the accompanying video.    Think about them as “automated, directed note-taking” tools.  They are automated because you cannot go to the next question until you get the current question correct.  But don’t worry because when you miss a question, I give you a hint before automatically returning you to the question so that you can change your answer.  They are directed because there’s a question about every important point that is made on each video.  They are note-taking because at the end of the Review, you will receive an email with all of the questions and  the correct responses.  You should print them and keep them in your Demystifying the SAT & ACT binder along with the Demystifying the SAT & ACT student manual pdf printouts for each chapter.  They will make great review notes you can use the week before the test!  Our students have reported they are well worth your time.

Before you get started with the videos, be sure to print the following student manual pdf files and put them in your ACT/SAT Prep binder.

0.1 Table of Contents 09.09.22

1. INTRO chapter 8.22.21

ACT Practice Test #3 is no longer in the Prep Guide but is available on the Internet.  Use this link:

You can find other editions of the “ACT Prep Guide” on the Internet.  You can check them out to see if they include additional practice tests for your use.  (The ACT publications include the same test for a few years in a row before offering a new one.  Make sure you have found a  test you haven’t seen before; otherwise, you could be wasting your efforts.)

SAT Practice Test #2 is no longer in the College Board publications.  There are many valuable practice activities in the test and we refer to them in the Math Chapters.  Here are links to access the test and an answer key on the Internet so that you can print and use it:

Establish your test-taking foundation using Chapter 1 which begins with meeting your online coaches, the Alexanders.  If you’ve already watched that video on our home page, skip to The SAT & ACT Are Games.