Alec Sandroni is a generally quiet young man who lets his actions speak for him. This year Alec scored a 35 on the ACT test—one point away from a perfect score. He also took the SAT Physics and Math 2 tests and scored 800 on each.
Talking to Alec about his impressive achievement success underscored two principals of test prep that we like to stress at A+:
- Pick the standardized test that is right for you.
- Practice, practice, practice.
A+: What brought you and your family to A+?
Alec: My parents found you—I think through my school. A+ worked well for me, and now my younger brother is going to be working with you!
A+: What was your biggest challenge getting ready for your tests?
Alec: Finding the right test! I started with the SAT. I found it difficult to improve my score past the low 1500s. I had enough time, but certain types of questions (usually on the reading passages) got me. I couldn’t consistently get a top score. That’s when I decided to try the ACT. At first, that didn’t seem any better, but once I got used to the speed, it was much easier to get higher scores. All of this was decided from practice tests—I hadn’t taken real thing yet.
A+: What were some of the factors that helped you achieve your goal?
Alec: Doing practice tests really helped. They helped me see that if I had stuck with the SAT, I would have had to put in more effort for lower scores. The problem with the SAT reading section was that there were always one or two questions per passage that I found ambiguous. Those questions were my stumbling blocks.
I have a friend who was able to achieve a superscore of 1600. For me, however, the ACT format was a much better fit. It was much more suited to my style. The only issue with the ACT was getting the speed and tempo right. Once I did that, I was good.
A+: What was the best piece of advice you remember getting from your tutor?
Alec: She helped me a lot with the writing section. I needed to review some of those grammar rules! She also recommended NOT doing a practice test the day before the test. Relax and get in a good frame of mind instead.
(Alex’s tutor Catherine says: It was clear from the first that Alec had an excellent grasp of the material. Part of the issue with “ambiguous” questions was that Alec was able to see so many more sides to an issue than other students did.
My role as a tutor was chiefly to coach and encourage, as he needed only practice and confidence to succeed. Alec committed himself to fulfilling his considerable potential and the results speak for themselves.)
A+: What are your future goals?
Alec: I don’t know what I want to major in, although I’m pretty sure it will be math or science related. I’m still thinking about a future career. As far as schools, my mom is a member of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. I live here and know the campus, so that would be nice. I also like Princeton campus—love the architecture! MIT is an option, because I’m thinking of engineering and it’s world-class.
A+: What advice do you have for students just starting the standardized testing process?
Alec: I started thinking about the testing process early, which helped take the pressure off. I really started in 9th grade—not consistently, but off and on. Start early, let things sink in, and then do some more. It’s a long test. Don’t try to familiarize yourself with it all at once.
I only took the ACT once. I really didn’t want to take the test multiple times. For me, that would have been a whole lot of stress. Practice tests were much more stress free. Do lots of practice tests on your own time and then just do the real test once. When you go one and done, you’re at your best. For some people it’s probably the opposite, but for me it worked better that way.
It certainly has worked well for Alec—congratulations to another A+ success story!
At A+ Test Prep and Tutoring, our focus is always on you. Our practices are based on the latest developments in educational theory and research. Our excellent team of tutors can help with standardized testing, executive functioning, or achievement in any other school subject. If you would like more information, Client Service Directors Anne Stanley and Susan Ware are available to answer questions and provide solutions. You may reach either of them by calling A+ Test Prep and Tutoring at 215-886-9188.