Stellar Senior Carolina Zheng Earns Another Amazing Score on the SAT: Four Years Later


Sapna Nath, Editor-in-Chief

Graduating Ward Melville senior Carolina Zheng received a 2400 on her most recent SAT exam, setting her apart from thousands of other students who took the same exam in November of 2013. Carolina, who checked her score the very day it was posted, says she was, “unbelievably happy” when she saw her score. The first person she told “was her mom.”

Right after completing the test in November 2013, Carolina discloses that she was elated to just be finished taking the  test. “I was happy because the essay question I had was not too difficult. I also didn’t think any of the sections were major disasters,” she explains.

However this is not the first time that Carolina has received an outstanding score. In fact, the first time Carolina took the SAT, she was only in eighth grade. Nonetheless, she earned a 2320, a near perfect score, on an exam designed for high school students, particularly juniors and seniors.

Carolina shares that she took the exam at such a young age because she wanted to take classes at a summer camp, Center for Talented Youth, hosted by Johns Hopkins University. She states, “They required I receive a certain score on the SAT if I wanted to be accepted into that program.”

After her stellar eighth grade performance, Carolina did not intend on take the SAT again. However many of the colleges she was applying to earlier this fall wanted to see a more recent SAT score. “I was really nervous because I didn’t have time to prepare much since I applying to colleges then,” she admits.

Carolina’s outlook on the test has changed dramatically from eighth grade to twelfth grade. Sections that she recalls as long and strenuous did indeed become far easier for her when she took the test a second time. “The essay, for example, was so much easier because I did so many in-class essays during high school,” she explains. She continues, “also after taking AP exams and SAT IIs, the length of the test wasn’t as bad as before.”

When asked about the the her favorite parts of the test, Carolina stated surely, “Math was the easiest because you learn everything you need for it in school. However the most difficult section was  definitely writing.”

In order to prepare for the exam, Carolina took many practice tests and repeatedly went over all questions she answered incorrectly. She says, “I used College Board’s Blue Book because its questions are most similar to the ones you find on the actual test.” She also used Sparknotes to find short summaries and themes presented in many English class books to use for the essay. To Carolina, practice tests are the keys to success. She says, “it is important to understand all your mistakes so you’ll get that kind of question right the next time you see it. If you can eliminate 2 out of the 5 choices, guess.” Other salutary tips Carolina recommends for test day would be to bring a snack and budget your time. She also states, “if you take the test in another school, know where the bathrooms are. Not even kidding.”

As for advice for future test-takers, Carolina suggests that you do not stress out. She states, “Remember, it is only a test. I wouldn’t do much the night before, and definitely get a lot of sleep.” However she does feel that the week before is fair game for cramming.

For the writing portion sections of the SAT, Carolina recommends reading the sentences in your head so you can hear which choices sound incorrect. She also says, “in the last writing section of the test, many times the shortest answer choice is correct.” Regarding the essay, she shares, “rambling is fine; SAT graders have 2 minutes to read each essay, and they tend to associate longer essays with higher quality ones,” Carolina explains.

When taking a critical reading section, Carolina suggests, “to pretend you are super interested in what the author is saying. If you just think they’re boring it’ll be hard to process what you’re reading. Also, try to find the specific lines that support the answer choice you’re picking.”

As for the math portion of the exam, Carolina suggests that you skip the difficult ones since all the questions are worth the same amount. She shares, “sometimes you can get the answer faster by plugging in answer choices or graphing the question on your calculator, as opposed to solving it the ‘correct’ way.”

As of now Carolina does not know which university she will attending next fall.  She plans on pursuing a major in computer science or economics.  However, regardless of whichever career path she chooses, or which university she attends next year, we are sure to hear her name in the future.

Other amazing students who achieved perfect scores this year on the SAT include juniors, Gary Ge and Donald Della Pietra.