By Shruthika Pochampally
For someone who recently accomplished the astonishing feat of making a perfect score on the SAT, Coppell High School senior Kavi Shah is remarkably modest. Although many high school students today strive for perfection, the path to a perfect, or 2400/2400, SAT score is nonetheless a strenuous one to take up.
Shah, however, seems to be nonchalant of his achievement.
“Consistency and lots of practice is key,” Shah said. “Some really great test takers can ace the SAT, but practice makes sure you don’t fall trap to College Boards tricks.”
Luck is definitely involved, as well, especially for the reading section Shah claimed. According to him, the vocab is always difficult because out of 10,000 words, you would want to get asked the words you know.
“I started studying at the beginning of sophomore year, but I don’t really think I put my heart and soul into it. When I took the SAT for the third and final time, I didn’t see a full score coming,” Shah said.
Not only did Shah plan to take the SAT in May, but he also went to prom as a junior and had AP tests, as well as subject SATs, which are objective assessments on college-level school subjects, in the same month. His parents even told him to wait until September of senior year, but he wanted to get it over with before summer started so he could relax over break.
“Kavi’s full score surprised all of us. I always knew he was capable, but May of Junior year was a busy month for him. I’m glad it all worked out so well in the end,” Shah’s mother, Kanan Shah said.
Mrs. Shah, who owns Ottimmo tutoring company, is ecstatic over her son’s remarkable feat.
“It requires a really strong foundation, coming from a young age. Kavi has always had a very strong foundation, which I will continue to stress on, because I see students walk into Ottimmo on a daily basis who make A’s in school, but lack proper reading skills and math fundamentals required to master the SATs,” says Mrs. Shah.
She wanted to make sure her son got the kind of fundamental groundwork needed to do well on the SAT down before jumping into the world of standardized testing.
“His tutors played a significant part in his success. The smaller teacher student ratios and the tutors’ high qualifications benefitted him immensely,” Mrs. Shah said.
Despite Shah claiming AP Physics was his hardest class during his junior year, his teacher, Clint Rushing, thinks very highly of him.
“He always made really good grades. He was always at the top of the class, and naturally always turned in his assignments and always seemed to do his best,” Rushing said. “It’s a tough subject, but he did good. He handled it well.”
Senior Derek John, who has known Shah throughout high school, was in a group with Shah for Business Professionals of America, a club they have been involved in at CHS.
“Kavi was goofy, I’m not gonna lie. But he was controlled. He was able to get work done when he needed to. He’s a very logical thinker and I like to think of him as someone with a large brain and a fun personality,” John said.
Shah and his mom both agree that he was always good at balancing between school work and SAT prep. He never feel that he was overwhelming himself with schoolwork by working towards a good SAT score. Shah’s advice to current sophomores and juniors? Lots of practice.
“Practice. Especially for the writing section,” Shah said. “The grammar rules just recycle. The same rules are incorporated every time. As for the reading section, read a lot of books from a young age.”
Shah claims the critical reading section was the hardest for him. Unfamiliar vocabulary words here and there along with the challenging and tedious passages generally brought down his score, while the writing section was his strong point.
“My goals before getting a full score are no different from what they are now. I got closer to my goals, but I haven’t changed them. I don’t think your goals should change just because of an SAT score. That’s just one part of the college application process. And it’s important to keep your goals realistic,” Shah said.
Shah, who wants to major in economics, claims his dream school is Princeton, but he says he will be applying to some other colleges as well this year- Rice and Michigan Universities, among others.
“I don’t know yet if I want to start my own business, but I definitely want to go to grad school and get my MBA,” Shah said.
In an increasingly difficult college application environment, students tend to find themselves struggling to keep up with the masses. Of course, already having made a full SAT score makes Shah stand out to colleges, but he not only has his SAT score to impress colleges, but he is also a debater and tennis player to name a few.
“If I get into a college of my choice, I’ll probably think the hard work paid off. No regrets yet, But we’ll see come around decision-time,” Shah said.