Curvebreakers’ Student of the Month series features students who go above and beyond to achieve outstanding results. They take full advantage of everything Curvebreakers has to offer by improving their scores, being accepted to top schools, or receiving exceptional scholarships. We recognize them to inspire all Curvebreakers students to reach for their dreams! Our Student of the Month for September 2018 is Afia H., who received excellent scores on both the SAT and the ACT. Nice job, Afia!
CURVEBREAKERS: When you signed up for tutoring, what did you think the sessions were going to be like?
AFIA: When I had first signed up for tutoring, I had an idea of what the sessions would be like since my cousin had also attended Curvebreakers. I knew that every session was supposed to be focused on a certain skill I was lacking and then continuous timed practice in order to ensure that the same mistake wouldn’t happen again. However, I underestimated the extent of how much practice SATs and ACTs I would be doing over time.
C: What was your score on your first SAT/ACT practice test?
A: My first score on a practice SAT was a 1320, and my first score on my ACT was a 32.
C: How did you like your tutor?
A: My tutor was Nick LaPoma, who is also in charge of Curvebreakers. I liked my tutor a lot because not only was he able to be my teacher, but he was also somewhat of an acquaintance. He was able to push me to continue practicing, but also know when to give me a break and just let me take a breather. He would also talk to me about things I could relate to, so that I wouldn’t lose focus or ever get bored.
C: What was your study schedule like when preparing for the official SAT/ACT?
A: When I was preparing for the official SAT, I didn’t do an insane amount of practice SATs per week in the months leading to my test. However, I did try to do at least one timed practice a week and two in the month before my SAT. On the contrary, for my ACT I didn’t do any practice at all besides going to my sessions and the occasional timed section if I could. Most of my attention went towards my SAT because I knew it was the test I needed more help on.
C: What did you find most challenging when preparing and what did you do to overcome that obstacle?
A: The most challenging obstacle I had faced was time, but not because I took too long, but because I would finish so ahead of the allowed time that I would begin to second guess and change my first choice answers. Although sporadically my second choice would be right, changing my answers more so hurt me than benefited me. In order to overcome this obstacle, I would try my best to take an extra step so that I could be as confident as possible with my answer. I would find the line in a passage where I got my answer for [the] reading sections, or do a math problem I had originally struggled on twice. I would also be sure to re-read questions in order to make sure I was answering properly and didn’t miss a keyword like “Which answer is NOT true?”
C: What was the best thing you did to prepare for the exam? What was most effective for you and what would you recommend to your fellow students if you could give them one piece of advice?
A: The best thing I did to prepare for the exam was time myself during every practice, because it let me plan out what I should redo since I usually finished a lot earlier than the allotted time. Doing so helped reduce how many questions I got wrong in each section and it boosted my confidence to be able to really show that I made sure each of my answers had a reason I chose it.
C: How did your feelings change from when you took your actual SAT/ACT compared to when you first started?
A: When I first started practicing for my SAT, I was always worried about my first answer and never felt confident that I could be completely right. However, after I had so much practice and had started to [use] the skills that were meant to help me, I learned not to second guess myself as much and it ended up bringing my score up by a lot.
C: What was your final score on the SAT/ACT?
A:My final score on the SAT was a 1510, and my final score on the ACT was a 35.
C: What was your favorite part about tutoring with Curvebreakers?
A: My favorite part about tutoring with Curvebreakers was how it was one on one because it allowed me to focus more on my personal struggles rather than go along with a group on something that may have been a lot easier for me. It also made sure I didn’t waste any time.