Featured Test Prep Student: Matt Graeff

March 15, 2016 

Matt-Graeff-A-Student.jpgMatt Graeff understands the importance of preparation and focus. As a golfer, he knows how crucial it is to practice his golf skills and keep his mind in the game before he even steps out on the golf course. So when it came time to focus and prepare for the ACT, he was ready for the challenge.

The 17-year-old Wissahickon High junior from Blue Bell PA, is one of the top scorers on his high school golf team, which went undefeated last fall. Although it was golf season, Matt spent time off the course investing in his academic future.

After taking the PSAT and a diagnostic ACT test, he decided to take the ACT. “I felt like the format of the ACT fit my style better than the SAT,” Matt explained. Working with A+ Test Prep and Tutoring, he said, was a “no-brainer.” “My brother did A+ tutoring a few years ago, and I saw that it helped him out a lot,” Matt said. “I wanted to do the same thing in hopes of being able to bring up my scores.”

Toward the beginning of the school year, Matt took a diagnostic test at the A+ office, and about a month later, he began tutoring sessions with Beth Bantley (verbal) and Barb Lommer (math and science) at his home. 

“One of the things the two of them were really good at was challenging me and realizing where I wasn’t as strong. We focused on those areas, and they gave me problems that were difficult. But in the long run, being able to see those questions helped me out,” Matt explained. “On the test, I would see similar questions, so I was ready for them. I didn’t really have any questions about what I was going to see.”

According to Barb Lommer, his math and science tutor, “Matt was an extremely disciplined student who managed to combine his prep with an extensive golf schedule. He understood that it would take an extraordinary effort to reach his ACT goal score, but he was never discouraged.”

Matt recalled working with his verbal tutor, Beth Bantley, to learn how to pace himself in the verbal sections. “Every time we did a reading passage, we would put eight-and-a-half minutes on the clock,” Matt explained, because if each of the four reading passages was completed in that amount of time, he would finish under the time limit. “That really internalized the pace I had to read and do the questions at, which was extremely helpful.”

“Matt brought to the test prep process a determination to master the skills necessary to get a top score on the ACT. He really put in the time necessary for dramatic improvement. Not only did he strive to get the correct answers, but also to understand how and why,” Beth noted. 

So with all of Matt’s motivation, focus, and preparation, he was able to shake his nerves off. “I was a little nervous because I put so much time into it,” Matt said. “But at the same time, I felt that for as many practice tests as I had done and all of the homework, there wasn’t really anything I thought that could slow me down. It was just a matter of going in and doing it.”

The preparation was all worth it, as Matt was able to increase his ACT composite score by 4 points.

“I was really happy with the process. Going into it, I figured the tutoring would help me learn the necessary content. But I think how it really helped me was getting me ready to take the test: getting familiar with the format and the pace. It made me so much more prepared and ready to take the test than a lot of students that don’t do tutoring,” Matt said

His mom, Linda, was equally pleased with the A+ experience. “We really liked the tutors with our older son and cannot be happier with the tutors Matt had,” she said. “They both are extremely knowledgeable and highly motivated, which in turn motivated Matt and taught him the strategies he needed to take his results to the next level.”

As he looks toward his college search, Matt is interested in schools where he can study business and also play golf competitively. “Golf is something that I work really hard at,” Matt said. “So right now, my college search is focused on schools where I can continue to play.”

With Matt’s impressive ACT score and his drive to succeed, there is no doubt that he will be able to achieve that dream. Congratulations, Matt!



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