A+ Featured Student: Isaac Okewole

September 15, 2022 
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“Success doesn’t happen by accident,” isn’t just a mantra for Isaac Okewole. It’s the reason why this rising senior at Germantown Friends School was able to improve his SAT score by an amazing 200 points! Isaac learned about A+ from his cousins who also saw their scores improve after test prep tutoring. Isaac attributes his own impressive achievement to his work ethic and the quality instruction he received from his tutor, Brian Gillin. We recently spoke with both of them to learn more about what made Isaac’s success possible.

A+: Congratulations on your success, Isaac! Looking back, what was your biggest challenge?

ISAAC: At first, I didn’t want to take the SAT at all because it felt like a review of what I already knew. But, as I went through the process of relearning what I already thought I knew, I opened up my mind to see what exactly I was missing and how much could possibly be on the SAT. So it’s a kind of education itself to just learn about the test, do the practice, and become more comfortable with it.

Brian Gillin, who helped Isaac prepare for both the math and verbal sections of the SAT, attributes Isaac’s success to his “positive attitude.” Gillin describes Isaac approaching tutoring with an “eagerness to improve” demonstrated by the “orderly notes” he took and the questions he would ask for clarification. Isaac recalls how Gillin was “very good at recognizing patterns. He showed me how questions are set up, so you know how to attack them.”

A+: What was the best piece of advice you remember getting from your tutor?

ISAAC: I think that the most helpful thing he said was about the verbal half of the SAT, which I already knew coming into it would probably be the hardest for me but actually turned out to be my best part of the SAT. He said that if you pay attention to the way that the question is structured, it will give you a hint to where to look. He also told me that if you know which questions you’re good at, you can pick out those questions first and then go after the questions you’re not quite sure about. It was all about starting strong.

Isaac was able to take Gillin’s helpful advice and transform it into positive results by putting in the work, especially taking practice tests seriously. According to Gillin, “Isaac found a good balance between his study for school and his preparation for the SAT.”

A+: What were some of the factors that helped you achieve your goal?

ISAAC: Part of my success was the way I did practice testing. My practice test scores weren’t that great in the beginning. However, when I started doing them first thing in the morning on the weekends, I did much better. By doing it that way, I believe that when I got to the SAT, I was prepared. I was able to stay calm because I wasn’t in a rush. I wasn’t bleary eyed, and my brain was already functioning at its highest level. I found that I am definitely more of a “just do this and get it over with” type of person. If I did it a little ways into the day, I’d be a little bit more tired, a little less focused. So sometimes I even woke up early and did it before I had to go to school. I found that really helped.

A+: What advice do you have for students just starting the standardized testing process?

ISAAC: Although the practice tests might seem tedious, it’s definitely necessary that you take it seriously.  Find out what works for you and try to refine it as best you can with the amount of sessions that you have with the A+. 

A+: What are your future goals? 

ISAAC: I am an athlete, so I will probably use my scores as a springboard to meet the requirements to play on college athletic teams. My prospective major right now is chemical engineering, so that will probably be a future focus of mine. I mainly do soccer, but I also run track. I’ve been narrowing down my list of colleges, and we’ve done a lot of college visits. Currently, my top three colleges are Fordham, Franklin and Marshall, and UC Berkeley.  

Whatever the future holds for him, Isaac has proven that his 200 point score gain on the SAT wasn’t an accident. He put in the work, maintained a positive attitude, and had a tutor who helped him maximize his strengths. Congratulations, Isaac!

At A+ Test Prep and Tutoring, our practices are based on the latest developments in educational theory and research. We have an excellent team of tutors who can help you with standardized testing, executive functioning, or achievement in any other school subject. If you want to find out more about our services, our Client Service Directors Joelle Faucette and Michelle Giagnacovo can be reached at 215-886-9188.

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