Nearly 1.5 million kids sat down last year, palms sweating, number 2 pencils in hand, to complete analogies and determine when a train leaving Cleveland at 45 miles per hour would pass a horse galloping toward Chicago at 15 miles per hour. Most of those 1.5 million will do just fine, get at least some schooling beyond high school, and become productive members of society. But only a handful--238 according to test prep giant Kaplan--got a perfect score on their SAT. Lakeside junior Brian Reiser was one of the few. “I’m definitely going to go to college, so in that respect, getting a good score on the SAT is quite useful," Reiser says. “It was also kind of, like, a personal goal.”
Lakeside, which weathered a big storm last year, caters to the academic elite. Alumni include Bill Gates and Paul Allen as well as a who's who of Seattle families that share names with buildings--Nordstrom, McCaw. Elite higher ed isn't just a goal, it's an expectation and the students there shell out a pretty penny to attend--annual tuition tops $22,000. But Reiser says he doesn't know exactly what he wants out of the college experience. The school assigns college councilors to students in the spring of their junior year so "it’s really the discovery phase at this point,” he says. The French-speaking Reiser adds that his interests veer toward math and finance.
In addition to his top-notch high school, Reiser ponied up for tutoring from Kaplan. Private programs such as this start at $2,399, says tutoring director Kate Newby. But unlike many kids who are there at the behest of motivated parents, Reiser was clearly the impetus behind his enrollment in the program, she says, adding that “he’s a pretty impressive kid; he’s very articulate.” Kaplan guarantees a score higher than the assessment students take before beginning prep with the company, but they certainly don't guarantee any perfect scores, she adds. During the 2007 test cycle, Reiser and one other Kaplan enrollee in Massachusetts were the only perfect scores.
While his future may be only beginning to unfold, one thing is certain: a lot of trees will give their lives for the mountain of material bound for Reiser's mail box as every institute of higher learning with a recruiting budget tries to woo him to their hallowed halls.
Just for the fun of it, here's a practice question from SAT the College Board, which administers the test.
A special lottery is to be held to select the student who will live in the only deluxe room in a dormitory. There are 100 seniors, 150 juniors, and 200 sophomores who applied. Each senior's name is placed in the lottery 3 times; each junior's name, 2 times; and each sophomore's name, 1 time. What is the probability that a senior's name will be chosen?
Answer after the jump:D