Quick – name one thing that Excel students are absolutely dominating. Well, there are many things on that list, but quite frankly, the ACT might be at the top of it. What makes us think so? Dougherty Valley junior Vikram Karmarkar, who is the latest member of the Excel community to earn top mark on the September 2019 ACT exam.
Vikram’s motivation for enrolling in an SAT prep course was more refinement-of-technique driven, rather than rundown-of-the-basics: “I wanted tips and strategies to help me score well on the test.” While in class, he found that the course set up proved beneficial to him on a number of levels. “The breakdown of the concepts was excellent because it helped me refresh my memory on concepts that I had learned a while back,” he says. “The class workbook was very thorough in its explanations and it contained a lot of practice questions that were similar to the ones I saw on the real exam.”
Like many Excel students, a large part of Vikram’s success can be attributed to spending time analyzing his test-taking techniques. “Do a lot of practice exams,” he suggests, before adding, “Exam Club is super helpful.” He’s referring, of course, to Excel’s scheduled study blocks, during which students may access a varied library of practice exams – including ACT exams, Subject Tests, and AP exams. Vikram goes on to recommend that students drill while they’re working independently, rather than mowing through test after test from start to finish. “Identify the questions which you tend to get wrong. Then find questions similar to those and solve them.” This means working on specific sections one at a time, rather than attempting to improve on the entire exam all at once.
Vikram spends his time volunteering, swimming, coding, and working with Interact, a community service club at his school. However, his high school days are swiftly moving toward their end. Luckily, Vikram already has a fairly solid idea of where next he’d like to exert his academic energy. “I want to study biology and I want to go on a pre-med track. My dream is to become a heart surgeon in the future.” As far as schools go? “I plan to go to a UC school and stay within California,” he says, choosing to forego the stereotypical college freshman tradition of getting as far away from home as possible. Best of luck to Vikram on his journey.