Monta Vista High School junior Siya Digra is one of Excel Test Prep’s most recent perfect scorers, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it! After a long string of ACT champions, Siya has stepped forth to take her rightful place among our SAT hall of famers. To celebrate her accomplishment, we invited her to come to our office for an interview, and as part of our getting-to-know-you process, Siya answered a few questions for us beforehand, sharing with us the process leading up to her SAT exam success.
Siya began her prep journey with a score averaging in the 1400s, and decided that a prep course might be the last nudge she needed to push her to a perfect score. She learned, as many students do once they’ve begun coursework, that the list of many advantages of a prep course begins with the structure it provides. “I saw a steady increase in each practice test I took here, whereas at home, my scores completely depended on my mood and environment.”
Many students are inclined to work themselves into a frenzy working while pushing their numbers upward, but Siya advocates a more measured approach. “My advice would be to chill out, to be honest,” she says. “I don’t think cramming the night before and banging out practice tests rapid-fire is the key to getting your desired score. I think the best advice I can give is to take it slow.” As an extension of that, Siya’s approach to improving her score mirrors the recommendations we give to students who are refining their skills post-course – the key is a strategic, narrowly-focused effort to assess one’s mistakes. “Once you know why you’re getting certain questions wrong, work on trying to understand why you got those wrong and why the right answer is correct. After mastering this, you’ll be super good at process of elimination on SAT (especially reading).”
Ambitious as they come, Siya has worn a number of hats throughout her academic and personal enrichment endeavors. To start, Siya is a member of her community robotics team, Valkyrie Robotics. She’s also served as a junior swim instructor, teaching children how to swim through a Cupertino city program. No stranger to the hard work and leadership skills required to head philanthropic efforts, Siya is also the co-president of and head of marketing for Project Backpack, an organization that raises money to donate school supplies to Puerto Rico. While most of Siya’s interests lean heavy into the sciences, one thin wisp of artistic thread has defied the odds and managed to weave its way through the tapestry of her interests: “I love playing the piano,” she admits. “I vent stress by aggressively playing Queen on my piano after school.”
While not specific about which school she ultimately wishes to attend, Siya expresses a desire to go to a school with robust science programs. On her list of potential career paths: computer science, mechanical engineering, or electrical engineering. What she aims for most, though, is a program that would allow her to study machine learning or artificial intelligence. ”My dreams are to work with artificial intelligence and to develop new advancements in that certain field of technology.” With her one-two punch of academic excellence and community involvement, we’re sure that Siya will find the right place to bring those dreams to life.