We are pleased to introduce Gavin, one of our 2020 A Better Chance Scholars. Gavin’s hard work and self discipline allowed him to increase his SSAT score by 25 percentile points!
Gavin and his family are from Thailand. He was born in Thailand and moved to the United States as a young child. Gavin and his family spend every summer in Thailand visiting his dad, who works there most of the year.
Gavin participates in an array of activities outside of school. He has been on the swim team for three years and served as the team captain during the past year. Gavin’s favorite swim stroke is the breaststroke. In addition to swimming, Gavin has recently started playing tennis. Gavin also enjoys playing the piano; he even composes his own music.
At school, Gavin enjoys math, science, and art. Gavin explained that his draw to math and science is their relation to so many other topics and fields, such as history and engineering. Gavin’s interest in art stems from his enjoyment of art history.
As part of the application process for independent schools, Gavin took the SSAT. He prepared for the SSAT by participating in the Test Innovators summer preparation course for A Better Chance and by practicing independently on the Test Innovators online platform. Gavin explained that the Test Innovators platform helped him gain familiarity with the test and build the stamina needed to stay focused throughout the entire test. The first time Gavin took the SSAT, he was unable to complete each section of the test. After dedicated, consistent practice, Gavin was able to complete the entire test the second time around. Gavin attributes much of his score increase to being able to manage his time effectively.
Gavin’s mom, Alisa, appreciated that the summer preparation course and the Test Innovators materials were online because it allowed Gavin to participate in preparation while they spent the summer in Thailand. Alisa explained that the online program gave them flexibility and made it possible to incorporate prep into their schedule. Alisa added, “The Test Innovators program really helped with identifying areas that needed improvement.” Additionally, she explained that the answer explanations were incredibly helpful, particularly for reading.
Advice for Students
Gavin’s advice for other students preparing for admissions tests is to practice time management. The timing component adds a degree of difficulty to the test, but with practice, you can learn time-management skills and strategies, which play a big role in being able to complete the entire test.
Above all else, Gavin’s advice is to persevere. Preparation is a challenging process, but as Gavin said, “You just have to get through it.”
Advice for Parents
Alisa’s advice for other parents who have children preparing for admissions tests is to invest time into the preparation process. There are aspects of the test, specifically the long duration, that many students don’t have experience with. Alisa explained that it is challenging for students to sit down and focus on a test for three hours, and practicing for the test helps build stamina.
Gavin will be attending The Ethical Culture Fieldston school in the fall. Because his older brother currently attends school there, Gavin is familiar with school. In addition to familiarity, Gavin was drawn to Fieldston’s strong academics and variety of extracurricular offerings. Fieldston is a campus school, which Gavin explained as a day school with a boarding school feel.
Test Innovators is Here to Help
Test Innovators helps students learn test-taking strategies and skills and build confidence so that they can put their best foot forward on test day. Our online platform dynamically adapts using insights from over 20,000,000 questions answered on the platform to help each student focus on the most impactful practice. Test Innovators has helped over 135,000 students improve their test scores and gain acceptance into schools with selective admissions processes.