Matthew Headley, a current Upper Dublin High School student, is the youngest of three brothers who were all able to raise their test scores and achieve their goals with the help of A+ tutors. Reflecting on her sons’ success, Beth Headley gushed, “I was thrilled with all my children’s results and the tutoring they all received. They all improved their test scores more than you even promised! I believe your program truly works!”
A “very motivated and very detail-oriented student,” according to his English and Reading tutor, Barbara Lommer, Matthew earned an impressive 32 on his October ACT, which was a 6 point increase for him!
We recently spoke with Matthew and his tutors to get a better understanding of how they were able to accomplish this remarkable feat.
A+: Throughout your preparation for the ACT, was there something you found particularly challenging?
MATTHEW: Working within the time given during the test.
Rob Gelb, Matthew’s tutor for Math and Science, praised Matthew, calling him “a very fast learner” and describing how they “breezed through much of the practice material.” Yet, he similarly singled out time as an obstacle and explained how he and Matthew worked together to tackle the problem. “The real challenge” for Matthew “was helping him navigate the pressures of an actual timed exam. So, more than anything else, our lessons were rooted in strategy, namely figuring out ways to do the problems he understands with more economy and less struggle.”
In addition to time management, there were specific weaknesses in English and Reading that needed to be addressed. As Barbara says, “Matthew had some weaknesses in grammar when we first started. [So], we practiced mapping various types of reading passages to improve his active reading skills, and we reviewed all of the grammar he had forgotten from middle school.”
Although building on past knowledge and applying new strategies to the test’s material can be beneficial, there is more a student can do to succeed.
A+: What were some of the factors that helped you achieve your goal or made the process a good one for you?
MATTHEW: I made sure I got a lot of sleep the night before the test, and I gave myself a lot of time to get ready in the morning. I also spent time studying every night the week before the test.
A good attitude and work ethic are also important. Barbara praises Matthew for his efforts, noting that he “has a lot of grit. He did not get discouraged when he did not improve immediately, but kept working hard.” When Matthew “hunkers down,” Rob says “he gets the material done, and with high accuracy to boot.”
A+: Among all of the help your tutors provided, what was the best piece of advice you remember getting from them?
MATTHEW: Understand what the question asks for before answering it.
Moreover, Rob recalls that because Matthew “was always a high scorer,” it was naturally “harder to earn even higher scores with an exam like the ACT,” and therefore he had some special suggestions for him. “We talked a lot about timing and how to manage tougher questions. Being creative with his approach to the exam was key—whether it meant going out of order with the questions, eliminating answer choices ASAP, or using quicker approaches than those reserved for a traditional math or science class.”
A+: With tutoring and testing over, what are your future goals?
MATTHEW: I really want to go the Penn State Main Campus, and I hope to work in STEM.
A+: What advice do you have for students just starting the standardized testing process?
MATTHEW: Instead of doing the homework all in one day, spread the homework out over the entire week.
Congratulations and good luck to Matthew!
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 Anne Stanley and Susan Ware can be reached at 215-886-9188.