Featured Student: Raj Vadodaria
Described as “delightful,” “diligent,” and “dedicated,” Raj Vadodaria was a star A+ Test Prep student who shone brightly throughout tutoring and on test day. A junior at Lower Moreland High School, Raj worked hard this past fall to improve his SAT score and, with the help of math tutor, Barbara Lommer, and verbal tutor, Pat Graber, he boosted his score by 200 points! Specifically, Raj increased his combined Reading and Writing and Language score by 150 points and his Math score by 50 points. For insight into what made this success story possible, we spoke with Raj and his tutors about their experience.
A+: What brought you and your family to A+?
RAJ: My family was first brought to A+ when my older brother began his SAT preparations. We were looking for an in-person location for tutoring that was near us, and we decided to choose A+. Years later, after a good experience for my brother, I decided to choose A+ as well.
A+: Instead of in-person tutoring, you and your tutors met online using the A+ platform iCollaborate due to COVID-19 concerns. What was that like?
RAJ: Even though it may sound like it would be difficult to tutor from home, it worked perfectly. There were not any obstacles that I can remember, and I remember it going very smoothly. For math, we were able to write and draw through iCollaborate, and in English, we were able to use the chat feature to open links to practice problems.
Pat Graber, Raj’s verbal tutor, admits that while she “would have preferred to have been able to meet with Raj in person,” it didn’t hold them back. In fact, “Raj prevailed and was able to flourish on the virtual platform.”
A+: Beyond where and how you did your tutoring, what else can you say about your experience? For example, what did you find the most difficult about preparing for the SAT, and what did you find most helpful?
RAJ: The biggest challenge for me was being able to gather the motivation to work hard in my preparation for the SAT. At first I did not take it that seriously, and I was unsure if the practice would actually help, so I often procrastinated. But, after more and more practice, I realized how much it really helped. The main factors that influenced my success and made the process enjoyable were my tutors, Mrs. Graber, and Mrs. Lommer. Both of them did a great job not only teaching me and helping me practice SAT material, but they pushed me to do better, and gave me the confidence to succeed.
Raj’s tutors enjoyed working with him too, describing him as “reliable, easy to work with” and a “fantastic person.” Graber was particularly impressed with Raj’s perseverance and explained that by “applying active reading strategies” and “analyzing transition words, as well as main ideas, Raj was able to catch on pretty quickly.” While building stronger skills was key to Raj’s success on the verbal sections of the test, stronger strategy was needed for the math sections. Lommer recalls how fine tuning Raj’s “time management and accuracy” was critical to his progress.
A+: Of all the tips, strategies, and advice you received, what stands out the most to you?
RAJ: The best piece of advice I remember getting from my tutors was to stay calm and relaxed during the test even if I am having trouble, because you can get a few questions wrong in every section and still get the score you want.
With his tutors’ encouragement, Raj “continued to strive for improvement,” and arrived on test day armed with the skills and strategies that ultimately earned him high scores.
A+: Now that test prep and testing over, what advice do you have for students just starting the standardized testing process?
RAJ: I would advise students to get a head start on their preparation process and not wait for the last minute. Before I started my SAT tutoring, I did not realize how much room I had to improve, and if I had not started the tutoring process all the way back in August, I would have never been able to improve so much on my score. I advise that students give themselves enough time to slowly improve every week, so that it can eventually be a massive improvement after just a few months.
A+: So, now that you’ve finished tutoring and taking the test, what are your future goals?
RAJ: In the future, I want to graduate from college and pursue a career that interests me. A few colleges that interest me as of now are mostly local, including Penn State, Pittsburgh, and Temple. However, as I visit more colleges and learn more about college, that can quickly change. As for careers, I am interested in learning more about and getting into the business/finance field.
For Pat Graber, the experience of working with Raj as his verbal tutor has made her confident that his success on the SAT will be replicated, telling us that she “know[s] he is going to do great things in the future.”
Congratulations, Raj! 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.