We sat down with Katie Benoliel from Germantown Friends School to discuss her A+ experience. Just last month, Katie was able to improve her SAT score by 140 points (over her PSAT score)!
A+: What brought you and your family to A+?
Katie: It was my friends! I kept hearing how much they were learning and how successful they were with A+. I decided to come to you when it was time to prepare for my college entrance tests. I was a little worried about standardized testing. I go to Germantown Friends School right now.
The other schools I attended allowed us to take an individualized approach to our work, so we didn’t necessarily learn conventionally. Well, you can’t get much more conventional than standardized testing—by definition, it’s the same for everybody. I wasn’t sure I would be able to adapt. I thought I’d better get some help. That’s when I came to A+.
A+: How did you get started?
Katie: I thought I’d better find out which test I liked better. I took two practice proctored tests: one SAT and one ACT. In the end, I chose the SAT. It was close, but the timing on the ACT didn’t work as well for me, and I didn’t feel comfortable with an entire section devoted to science.
A+: What were some of the things that helped you reach your goal?
Katie: I had a lot of great support! When I began working, my tutors (Rob Gelb for Math and Pat Graber for Verbal) showed me that adapting to conventional testing wouldn’t be as big an issue as I feared. Pat, in particular, really helped me understand the importance of good testing strategies. Both my tutors were encouraging and positive. I liked that they didn’t focus on test scores to the exclusion of everything else. They took the time to make sure I got answers to anything I had questions about.
My friends also inspired me. They had had the A+ experience and encouraged me to get the most that I could out of the sessions. We all drove to the SAT test together for mutual support!
A+: What is the best piece of advice you remember getting from your tutors?
Katie: The message was always: trust yourself. Go with your gut. Don’t second-guess yourself. Both my tutors gave me the confidence to trust in my own abilities.
A+: What are your future goals?
Katie: Right now, I have no definite plans, although I am thinking about Writing and Photojournalism as possible careers. I haven’t started looking at specific schools yet. I’m proud of my scores and the work I did to earn them. I’m planning to take my time and choose a college I can be proud of and excited about as well. I’m just so glad that I had the opportunity to learn as much as I did with A+. That’s something that’s always important to me: to learn as much as I can!
A+: What advice do you have for future students who are just beginning their testing process?
Katie: Learn to love the work you are doing for its own sake—don’t just work for a number! Every test you take gives you knowledge and experience, and that’s incredibly valuable.
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. 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 would like more information, 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.