Featured Test Prep Student: Sonoi Kawakami

Sonoi Kawakami (1).jpgPhiladelphia’s A+ Test Prep and Tutoring is making waves in Hawaii! Recently we sat down to talk with Hawaii resident Sonoi Kawakami (by phone, of course) about her experiences and achievements working online with our tutor, Julie Mueller.

Sonoi’s uncle first recommended A+ to her. Sonoi’s Uncle James knows A+ president Dan Ascher very well and had complete confidence that A+, even across an ocean and a continent, was the right choice for his niece. And he was right! A+ helped Sonoi bring her composite ACT score up five points, from 17 to 22.

A+: So what was it like working with a tutor thousands of miles away?

Sonoi: Well, there was the time difference. (Note: Hawaii is six hours behind Philadelphia.) Waking up early to work with Julie was hard! But that was really the only problem. It helped that I was able to hear and talk to Julie, and we had the same book, of course. She gave great explanations, and she was so easy to talk to!

A+: What other things did you like about the program?

Sonoi: I liked the consistency of working every week. I also thought the practice tests were very helpful. My biggest challenge was math, especially running out of time on the math section. My tutoring sessions really helped me improve that way! I got lots of good advice from Julie. She taught me how to manage my time—how not to let individual questions eat it up. She also showed me how to review my answers at the end.

A+: Congratulations on your success in raising your ACT score so much! What is next for you?

Sonoi: Thank you! I plan to take the SAT as well as the ACT. My goal is to get a score of 1300! Right now I’m interested in a career as a physician, and one of the schools I’ve been looking at is Washington State University.

A+: Any advice for other students who would like to do what you did?

Sonoi: Be consistent. I had to keep up with my tutoring assignments, even though I had a lot of other activities going on at the same time (Sonoi took AP English, played soccer, and worked as a babysitter). Also, try not to look at the answers in the book until you’ve done the problem—otherwise you won’t learn!

We also spoke with Julie Mueller, Sonoi’s tutor. Julie had nothing but praise for her former student.

Julie: Sonoi was a real pleasure to work with because she was the type of student who always had a sunny disposition, no matter how much material we worked through. She was diligent as she worked and receptive to any comments I might make about how to improve her score or what to watch out for on the test, which made my job easy. And despite the fact that Sonoi was across the continent and across half the Pacific (Hawaii), her attitude during our online tutoring sessions made the distance seem negligible.

How did A+ help make Sonoi’s higher test scores a reality at such a distance? One of the factors was our online tutoring system, iCollaborate. All that is necessary to take advantage of online tutoring is a computer with a broadband Internet connection (DSL, FIOS, cable); a microphone; a headset, earbuds, or speakers; a webcam; and the latest version of Adobe Flash. According to Dan Ascher, CEO of A+, “the best aspects of in-person tutoring translate very well to face-to-face online tutoring.” Tutors are trained to deal with the occasional issue—like audio lag time. However, Dan says, “a live, face-to-face online tutoring session allows the tutor to respond to the student’s needs, struggles, motivation, and other nonverbal cues.”

At A+ Test Prep and Tutoring, we are here to help make the testing process as productive and stress-free as possible.  If you would like more information about any of our services, our 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. 

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