No secret to success, says Dubai teen who gets near-perfect SAT score

Jawad Asaria scores 1,540 out of 1,600 points total in reading, writing and maths

Dubai: A Dubai student has scored in the top one per cent of millions of SAT test takers worldwide, achieving 1,540 out of 1,600 points.

Jawad Asaria, a grade 11 student of American School of Dubai, scored identical results — 770 out of 800 — in both ‘Evidence-Based Reading and Writing’ and ‘Math’ after sitting for the test earlier this month.

No secret

The 17-year-old student said there was no secret to his success — just hard work and practice. Jawad, a UK national, wants to study politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University, among other aspirations, including Harvard University, after he graduates from high school next year. After college, Jawad wants to start his own business.

‘Read a lot’

Jawad, who has written two novels, which he plans to publish later on, said his passion for reading and writing helped him in SAT (formerly called ‘Scholastic Aptitude Test’). The test results are used by US universities in their admissions process.

“I would say read a lot, from newspapers to novels. It’s easier to get a high score in the math section because it’s formulaic; it’s either right or it’s wrong. Whereas the reading section [for which he got full marks] is a bit more open to interpretation,” said Jawad, who is doing blended learning at his school.

From low point to top marks

Comparatively, maths was his “low point” months before sitting the SAT, so he joined a test preparation centre in Dubai to improve his maths. “What I also learnt there is that you don’t have to be exceptional at maths, you just have to really confident in the fundamentals … Most of the questions fall within algebra, which is what most students take in 10th grade. So by the time you take SAT in 11th grade or 12th grade, you’ve already gone over the material. It’s just really about having the confidence.”

Top tips

Jawad also recommends studying and doing practice tests at least three months ahead of SAT. He said students should understand what their weak points are, and then focus on improving them. Last but not least, reading the question carefully — more than once if needed — is equally important before attempting to submit the answer, Jawad added. “Give them what they are asking you to give. You just have to really read the question, and you will see how your mistakes will vanish into thin air,” he said. Of course, joining a test preparation centre also helped, Jawad said.

‘Unique achievement’

Abheet Bharti, director of GuideMe institute, a test preparation and university admission consultancy in Dubai that Jawad joined, said: “Nearly 2.2 million students take SAT every year, and to be in the top one per cent of people worldwide is an outstanding achievement. Jawad’s score of 1,540 is 99th percentile. To add to that, he has scored 770 out of 800 in both Math and English sections, adding another unique achievement of scoring 99 percentiles in both the sections.”

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