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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Snover

...filling out a timesheet

I often tell my students about a time when I worked for a very large tutoring company that had me running all around the world. I would do one-on-one sessions in people’s living rooms, classes of up to fifteen in hotel conference rooms, and small group sessions at public libraries and places like that. I was paid different rates for groups of different sizes, and I was reimbursed for my mileage.

I enjoyed the tutoring, but the timesheets were a nightmare. Every two weeks I had to sit down and write out the hours I had worked, factoring in fifteen minute breaks for every three hour class. Then I had to calculate my mileage. This wasn't too bad if I was going straight from my home to the location, but sometimes I ended up driving from hotel to a student’s house to a library and then back to my house. It was like I could see the red dotted line following me around on the map.

Every time I turned in a timesheet, I intended to stay on top of it for the next pay period. But inevitably I let it slide and ended up back again two weeks later, hunched over a map with a calculator beside me. It got so bad that I actually felt as if I was doing all of the tutoring for free, and I was earning my pay solely by suffering through the torturous process of filling out the timesheets.

This comes up all the time on the SAT, because you actually don't get any points for knowing the answer. Zero. You get points for filling in the correct bubble. Having the answer written on your sheet, or circled in your workbook, does you no good. Having the numbers written out in the grid-in “Student Produced Response” questions at the end of each math section doesn't count unless those numbers are bubbled in correctly below. And if you fail to round to the nearest integer or tenth or hundredth or whatever the test specifies, then you will be awarded no points. I have had a student circle of the correct answer on their sheet and bubble a wrong answer on their bubble sheet seven times on the very same test. Seven times! Obviously, this is a score ruining mistake.

This is why it is so important to practice the test until the concepts become second nature and you can run on autopilot. Your score is dependent on your bubble sheet, so you better be sure to spend a lot of attention making sure that you don't screw it up. It's like me and my timesheets: no matter how many miles I drove around New Jersey, or how many classes I taught in hotel ballrooms, I only got paid if that timesheet was perfect. I’m sure there were times when I didn’t get paid all I had earned. Don’t let that happen to you.

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