In the past few months, Friends Select School senior Daniel Albarouki has been applying to colleges with the extra confidence gained from having earned a 1560 (780 Math and 780 Verbal) on the October 2023 SAT with the help of A+ Test Prep and Tutoring. Practice and patience were important for Daniel as he gradually improved his score 200 points from a starting score of 1360. Meanwhile, as he patiently waits to hear back from colleges, we spoke with Daniel and his tutor, Barbara Lommer, to reflect on their experience working together and to celebrate Daniel’s success.
A+: Let’s start at the beginning. How did you discover A+ tutoring?
Daniel: My school connected us to A+ when recommending tutors for the SAT in junior year.
When you start tutoring, sometimes you don’t know what to expect. What will the tutor be like? How hard will it be? Will tutoring really help? Daniel credits his tutor for pushing him to strive for excellence from the start. Barbara “immediately honed in on my shortcomings and didn’t let me get away with only settling for average.” Daniel had “very high score goals, so he needed to be able to deal with the hardest questions and have near perfect timing and accuracy,” Barbara recalls. The verbal section of the SAT was “a particular challenge” for Daniel.
A+: Tell us a little bit more about your biggest challenge.
Daniel: Mastering the English section by not just jumping at the first answer that made sense. I never struggled with the thinking of the test, as I am a relatively fast reader, but my inability to truly internalize the information has cost me more than a few times. A+ helped me realize the mistakes I was making by going too fast and highlighted how this led me to make mistakes I shouldn’t have made.
A+: Can you recall a particularly helpful piece of advice from your tutor?
Daniel: Slow down. This is a big one for me. Sometimes I would think I knew how to do the problem after completing so many, but I ended up making a mistake that could easily have been avoidable if I had read the question more thoroughly.
Barbara recognized that time management was an issue for Daniel, so she analyzed “his approach for various question types and reading sections” in order to “make sure he used the most efficient approach every time.”
A+: Were there any other factors that you would attribute to your success?
Daniel: A constant stream of practice tests helped me the most. As long as you are willing to put the time and effort into doing them consistently, you not only improve your abilities but get more out of your tutoring sessions.
A+: What advice can you give students who are just getting started or considering test prep?
Daniel: Don’t be afraid to not do well the first time. These tests are meant to be taken multiple times and to show improvement as you study and grow as a student. Stay consistent with practice tests and you will see change.
A+: Now that tutoring and testing is over, let’s look to the future. What colleges and career goals do you have in mind?
Daniel: I have recently applied for Early Decision at UPenn and am hoping to pursue a career somewhere in the STEM field. A+ has given me the tools to succeed not just on the SAT but also on the AP tests in fields I’m interested in. With the help of tutors, I have achieved 5s on both AP Chem and AP Calc BC.
As someone who is, according to Barbara, “pleasant, industrious, smart, driven, reliable, curious, well-organized, and well-balanced,” Daniel possessed the positive qualities that not only helped him to achieve his SAT goals, but also the qualities that will serve him well as he pursues his academic and career goals.
We at A+ wish Daniel the best of luck and congratulations on his remarkable achievement!
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, call 215-886-9188.