Featured: Niko Mamula

April 14, 2022 
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Featured: Niko Mamula

Described as “intelligent” and “driven,” Germantown Friends School junior Niko Mamula took advantage of the free proctored practice exams offered at his school by A+ Test Prep and Tutoring. After determining that the SAT was a better fit for him than the ACT, he began SAT tutoring. After months of hard work, he was able to boost his SAT score by an impressive 150 points! With the help of his tutor, Josh Woratyla, he improved his combined Reading and Writing score by 40 points and his Math score by 110 points. For insight into what made this success story possible, we spoke with Niko and his tutor about their experience.

A+: What brought you and your family to A+?

NIKO: I found out about A+ because it actually offered free proctored SATs at my school. I took an SAT and ACT through this opportunity. Later on, we just decided to go with A+ since the proctored tests were a good experience.

It was a decision Niko and his mother, Dana Grozdanic, would come to celebrate. Reflecting on the experience working with A+, Dana praises the “excellent tutoring, very friendly staff, and superb communication” A+ provided. The convenience of completing sessions online, rather than in person, was also a plus. “I had a great time using Zoom for the tutoring sessions,” says Niko. “It didn’t diminish my progress or my learning in any way.” Niko’s tutor, Josh Woratyla, goes even further, confessing that he has “come to prefer remote tutoring.” In fact, Woratyla feels “it is actually easier to collaborate on material when viewing a shared screen and annotating.” 

A+: Part of the learning process is overcoming challenges, so what did you find the most difficult about preparing for the SAT and what did you find most helpful?

NIKO: Even before tutoring, I struggled with SAT math. I’ve always been fine with in-school Math courses, but something about the SAT math set me back. I generally lacked confidence and tended to overthink certain questions. I knew the material, but just wasn’t able to effectively apply my knowledge. What helped was lots of practice, specifically structured practice in the form of homework that I received from my tutor. Having consistent assignments to complete helped to keep me on track and reinforce skills that I would need on the test.

Niko’s tutor similarly highlights the value of practice as well as persistence when it comes to making progress. According to Woratyla, “Niko did a great deal of practice work, always going above and beyond to complete all assigned homework and more.” 

Offering further praise, Woratyla describes Niko as an inspiring student and a fantastic teammate in the tutoring process. “Niko was a bright and motivated student, which made all the difference, “because it enabled me to challenge Niko “with difficult material and to explain concepts more thoroughly.” It also helped that “our personalities matched well, making the sessions fun and effective.” 

A+: It sounds like you and your tutor got along really well, Niko. Of all the tips, strategies, and advice you received, what stands out the most to you?

NIKO: Towards the end of the process, my tutor’s advice came in the form of reassurance. He told me that even if I manage to bomb the test, I’d still have another chance and more time to study. I already knew beforehand that I could take it twice or three times if necessary, but just having the advice come from someone externally was very helpful.

A+: Now that test prep and testing are over, it’s your turn to give some advice. So, what would you tell students just starting the standardized testing process?

NIKO: There is a sort of mentality that has spread due to most colleges emphasizing their test-optional policies: a growing number of students seem to immediately put off taking the SAT/ACT. I think it is absolutely worth practicing and taking a shot at either the SAT or ACT; submitting a score you’re happy with can only help you. The test is certainly intimidating, but one hundred percent doable.

A+: Since you’ve finished tutoring and taking the test, what’s next? What are your future goals?

NIKO: I’m looking to attend college and then onto graduate school, potentially to complete a PhD. As for the colleges I’m interested in, I’m looking at several liberal arts colleges throughout New England (Bowdoin, Williams, Amherst, Hamilton). Apart from these schools, my top choice is UPenn. I’m quite sure that I will major in PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics) or something related. I have essentially no idea what I’d like to pursue career-wise, maybe law.

Congratulations, Niko! We at A+ wish you all the best as you work to achieve your dreams.

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 Joelle Faucette and Michelle Giagnacovo can be reached at 215-886-9188.

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