Congratulations to Rishi Veerapaneni and Vrinda Vasavada, two Excel students who have recently received perfect scores on the SAT!
Rishi scored a perfect 2400 on the October SAT and says he was initially bewildered by the results. “When I saw the score, I thought that was just the default value, so I thought, ‘Okay, they’ll add my score later.’ I didn’t quite believe it at first,” he said. “The next day…I go back and look at the same number, like, ‘They can’t be that slow.’ I was happy-ish, I don’t know. I was kind of confused.”
A student at Saratoga HS, Rishi has participated in Speech and Debate, soccer, robotics, and chess club at his school. “It’s GREAT to be a Falcon,” he told us. “You should definitely write that in italics, capital G-R-E-A-T to be a Falcon.” He dreams of coding professionally when he’s older, telling us, “There’s nothing else where you can do so many different things with one piece of equipment.”
When we asked about his secrets to success, Rishi said that practice and mentality are everything. “Do a lot of practice exams. They are not fun at all, but if you do them a lot they help. When you take the exam, don’t be stressed out or nervous at all. I actually had fun taking the exam, as weird as that may seem. I was juggling during the breaks.”
Vrinda found out about her score when she was on a family trip in India. “We were out shopping. I didn’t know when my test scores were going to come in because of the time difference,” she said. “My dad was really on it because he was really excited. …He called me and said, ‘Vrinda, guess what you got?’…I kept on guessing numbers that were higher and higher, after a while he had so much excitement that he told me. We were screaming, so excited, and the person selling me clothes was like, ‘You really like this one?’”
Vrinda’s answer for how she performed so well is similar to Rishi’s: practice combined with a stress-free attitude. “I think the first thing I would advise is your poise and confidence on test day is really important, like even more important than all of the practice you’ve done. Eat something really spicy in the morning because it wakes your brain up….If you need private [tutoring] sessions, I think those were really helpful for me, I improved my score 100 points because of that. The teachers here are really nice.”
Vrinda originally heard about Excel when her older sister was enrolled in our classes: “I never heard her complain, even when she had to take classes during the school year. She was always pretty chill about coming to Excel, so I thought, ‘It must be a pretty fun place.’” She says that Excel was instrumental in giving her the preparation she needed. “I think there are two things that set Excel apart,” she said. “One is the staff, the teachers, and how helpful and dedicated they are. They’re always willing to help, even if you have really dumb questions. The other thing is how much practice they give, because that’s something I don’t think you could find anywhere else, and that was one of the main things that helped me raise my score. It’s very open and friendly as a place.”
We at Excel wish our winners the best in whatever they venture into, in college and beyond!