In 2017, La Salle College High School student Matthew Catanzariti had a busy summer and fall planned. Among other responsibilities, he juggled a summer job, competitive tennis, and family activities.
Matthew also had a goal: to raise his SAT scores. He did. His total score shot up from 960 to 1130 (almost 200 points!).
We sat down with Matthew to talk about his A+ experience.
A+: What brought you to A+?
Matthew: My mom’s friends had good experiences with A+, so we thought we’d try. Dan Ascher (Note: Dan is the president of A+) talked to us first, and I felt very comfortable with him. I was encouraged and thought that A+ might be a good fit. Dan suggested that I take a proctored practice SAT test. That experience was very positive!
A+: What was your biggest challenge during tutoring?
Matthew: Doing that reading test over and over! Those paired passages got me—having to compare selections and answer in-depth questions. I had a tough time with some of the older literature as well. The vocabulary and sentence structure could be unfamiliar.
A+: How did you overcome that challenge?
Matthew: For the reading, I took the total time I had for that part of the test (65 minutes) and divided it by the number of passages. I learned to keep in mind the maximum time I had for each section or passage. That helped a lot. I knew when I had to move on.
A+: What do you consider the best advice or information you received from your tutors?
Matthew: I learned so much about testing strategies. Eliminating answer choices was one system that worked especially well for me. My tutors were amazing. Both of them were really patient! They worked with me step by step and showed me how to get into a more positive frame of mind during the test. They used to tell me, “Calm down. Focus on each question one at a time. Don’t get too stressed out.” (My mom told me that too, by the way.) Being more relaxed and confident helped me to pay attention to what I was doing. That got me to 1130. The next time I take the test, I’m counting on an even higher score!
A+: What are your plans for the future?
Matthew: I’m just starting to look at schools. I’m narrowing down my choices from a group of about twenty. Thanks to my higher scores, I’m able to look at schools I’m very interested in, like University of Connecticut, Fordham, and NYU. I’m not sure what I want to do career-wise. I might study sports journalism, but I also like the idea of going into business.
A+: What advice do you have for students just beginning the testing process?
Matthew: Take that extra step. Keep practicing—it works. Don’t slack off! Get in the mindset of slowing down and taking a deep breath. I can’t stress enough how much that helped me.
After this interview, we caught up with Chris Myers, who worked with Matthew on the Reading and the Writing and Language sections of the test. Like all A+ tutors, Chris offers a wealth of experience and expertise to her clients. She has worked successfully with students for 19 years—9 of them with us! She had this to say:
Matthew was an outstanding student, and one of the hardest-working students I have ever had. He was always willing to take on any task that I assigned, and went “above and beyond” anything required of him, completing additional assignments and test sections. Matthew also attended one of our free proctored tests, giving up a Saturday for this additional practice. It is not surprising that he was successful on the SAT—he certainly earned his wonderful score!
Congratulations to Matthew, and we wish him further success on his academic journey!
At A+ Test Prep and Tutoring, our focus is always on you. We have an excellent team of tutors who can help your student with standardized testing, executive function skills, or achievement in any other school subject. If you would like more information, our Client Service Directors Anne Stanley and Susan Ware are available to answer questions and provide solutions. You may reach either of them by calling A+ Test Prep and Tutoring at 215-886-9188.