Featured Test Prep Student: Eli Minkoff

featured-student-eli-minkoffEli Minkoff, whose pronouns are they/them/theirs, took a good thing and made it better.

Many students would be content with an ACT score of 29, but Eli wasn’t satisfied. They wanted to soar to new heights, and got there when they earned a 34!

A+ spoke with Eli about this impressive accomplishment.

A+: Congratulations on your score! Tell us a little about how you achieved it.

Eli: I learned as much as I could about the test itself. I can’t stress enough how valuable it is to learn testing strategies and techniques. Especially process of elimination! It’s important for students to realize that the more wrong answers they eliminate, the better their odds are of scoring the point. Learning to recognize tricks in the wording of the answers helps a lot. For example, an answer choice might repeat a word or phrase from the passage but still be wrong. Avoid attractors!

A+: You obviously know your strategies well.

Eli: I tried! My biggest challenge was math, specifically time management. I told my tutor, “I’m good at math but not good at doing math quickly.” I was getting good scores on the other sections, but math was a stumbling block.

One of the things that helped was getting a time accommodation that I could tailor to my needs. The accommodation allowed me to determine where to use my minutes. Being able to budget time made a huge difference. I elected to use all of my extra time on math.

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A+: What was going on at the same time you were studying for your test?

Eli: Well, AP Calculus, for one thing. I was studying a lot for that test. I was getting tons of work in both my English and Math courses. Towards the end of the year, the homework just increased dramatically. I knew I could benefit from some ACT test prep. The counselor at my school (Eli attends The Crefeld School) recommended A+.

A+: What else was on your plate beside schoolwork?

Eli: I volunteer at a food pantry several times a month. My hobby is playing computer games, and computers really relate to the career I’m interested in. My goal is to get my Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity. It’s a rapidly growing field. The demand for good cybersecurity is much greater than can be met.

A+: Have you started looking for schools that will help you pursue your career goal?

Eli: So far, I really like Champlain College in Vermont! I love the area, and there is a great sense of community there.

(Editor’s note: In 2018, U.S. News and World Report ranked Champlain College #2 in the Most Innovative Schools category. The college also ranks in the top 100 in Regional Universities North and Best Value Schools.)

A+: That’s great! Do you have any final advice for students who are just beginning the test prep process?

Eli: Practice! Being able to take practice tests was a huge help. Familiarize yourself with the patterns of the test. You don’t need to be 100% confident to get an answer right. 90% is okay! If you can eliminate one or two answer choices, go for it. Make sure you are focused and clear-headed on test day. Above all, remember what my tutor always told me: Don’t panic!

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