Last week, two Montgomery County students, Jennifer Chen and Lawrence Zhao, received a perfect 2,400 on the SAT. Chen is currently a sophomore at Winston Churchill High School, and Zhao is currently a junior at Montgomery Blair High School.
This was Zhao’s third time taking the standardized test since middle school.
“Initially coming out, I was not very confident about the writing questions, but after I found out, I was definitely happy. My parents were very surprised I got a perfect score,” said Zhao.
In preparation for the test, Zhao attended C2 Education, a test prep center in Rockville that prides itself on its low student-to-tutor ratio and personalization of study programs. Starting in 10th grade, Zhao met with various tutors once a week for about two hours. Before attending C2 Education, Zhao scored roughly between a 2,000 and 2,100, which ultimately increased to the perfect score of 2,400.
Program Director Sunny Chung said this is not something new. “Every year we have students that score high. This year. we had three students with perfect scores as well as students that scored as high as 2,390. In addition, this year, we had two students that attended Stanford and one student that attended MIT.”
C2 Education has more than 150 locations nationwide, including 13 locations in Maryland. The tutors at C2 Education must have experience in education, pass a tutor test that is similar to the SAT and participate in an online training program for two weeks.
Zhao has not yet narrowed down college choices but has visited several campuses, including Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Columbia, and Princeton and other prestigious schools such as Caltech, New York University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford. Although unsure of what his major will be, he is considering a major with math or computer science, “ I do not really have a preference for location or size. but I want a school with a strong program for my future major,” said Zhao.
Aside from Zhao’s strong test-taking skills, he also does well in school and is very involved. Zhao has straight As, and a weighted GPA of 4.73. He is a member of Montgomery Blair’s boys varsity volleyball team as well as the debate team and a competitive math team. In his downtime, he enjoys playing video games and hopes to one day be involved in a company that develops them.
Chen declined to comment.