About The Perfect Score Project

August 7, 2013

I'm a 48-year-old mother of two teenagers. Click here to read my bio, or here for a more detailed version.

In 2011, I took the SAT seven times.

It was an attempt to light a fire under my teenage son (aka your typical teenage boy; i.e. uninterested in any test, much less a 4-hour-long high-stakes, standardized one).

I thought maybe he'd be interested if I climbed into the trenches. On that front, I scored.  I even overheard him telling a girl the other night that "the SAT was fun," (which it was, I just never thought I'd live to see the day when he'd admit that). Right after he took his SAT (he took the test twice), I asked, "Was it fun?," and he told me, "It was less bad than it would have been had you not done it with me," which became his stock answer if anyone asked. Until the other night, when face-to-face with a pretty girl who had to take the test herself.  Then it was "fun."

In the end, the project was a success, especially in ways I'd never imagined. Start with the fact that my teenage son morphed from a happy-go-lucky little tadpole who was in need of a lot of "re-focusing" when we began the project, into a hard-working, driven young man who will be heading off to college in a few short weeks.

Over the course of the year I gained a lot of clarity about the gillions of niggly "SAT questions" that plagued me at the beginning -- questions such as, "When do I start?" or "How do I pick a tutor?" And, I now consider myself to be an expert at detecting the early warning signs of "parental love meets teenage apathy" collisions. (Just in time to prepare my 15-year-old daughter.)

And I wrote a book about the journey, from which you can read an excerpt or listen to an audio clip.

Harmony Books (a division of Crown) will publish The Perfect Score Project: Uncovering the Secrets of the SAT in February of 2014.

REVISED Book Jacket


I'd describe it as a hybrid: part guide to decoding (and acing) the SAT/part memoir. It's the story of how I grew as a mother, and how my son and I managed to eek some joy out of the SAT process. It's also a toolbox filled with tips I learned about the SAT--things I might not have thought of, such as What makes a good testing location...or The truth about brand-name SAT prep...or How to know if you should self-study, take a class, or use a tutor...

Ultimately, the book is about how I managed to motivate my teenage son to care about the SAT--and, to rescue him from...sliding by.

I'll continue to share what I learned on this blog, and there will be a lot more information in the book.  Plus, the story.

Sometimes I share links and other stuff on Facebook and Twitter.


Or,  you can  find me on YouTube or click on this Subscribe page to see other ways to connect. And, if you still don't find what you're looking for, shoot me an email: debbie@perfectscoreproject.com


For press inquiries, contact: Ellen Folan 212-782-8944 efolan@randomhouse.com

For more press materials, click on the Press Kit page.

For speaking engagements please visit my Speaking Page and contact Jamie Brickhouse at the redBrick Agency 646.281.9041



All of the fabulous illustrations on this site are hand painted by Jennifer Orkin Lewis.