Joshua Yoon completed some practice questions before taking the SAT this year, but he admits that he didn’t do much to prepare for the college assessment.
Weeks later, he learned that he had little reason to stress over the test. He achieved a perfect 800 score on the math portion of the exam.
Such an accomplishment is impressive enough for a college-bound student. It is even more notable when the test-taker is only 12 years old.
Joshua, who attends , was among a select group of Buffalo Grove sixth-graders invited to take the SAT this year after they demonstrated they were ahead of the curve on a school assessment test.
Paul Louis, 's curriculum and assessment director, said students who score in at least the 95 percentile in an assessment test are invited to participate in the SAT each year. About half of those students’ parents sign up their kids, he said. This year, 57 sixth-graders took the college entrance exam Feb. 4 at .
“It obviously a rigorous assessment for the kids to participate in,” Louis said. “They take the same version that kids preparing for college are taking.”
Joshua, who takes an advanced math class at Twin Groves and further challenges himself by reading math books on his own, said he felt confident during the SAT.
While he found the reading and writing portion of the test more difficult, “the math part was pretty easy,” he said. “I didn’t really feel like I was getting anything wrong. There were problems that were a bit more difficult, but I was still thinking that I got them right.”
Still, he said, he wasn’t expecting his score, which came in the mail, to be perfect.
“I was a bit surprised,” he said. “I was just excited and pretty happy.”
Joshua’s mom, Seojin Yoon, said her son always has been advanced; he learned to read when he was just 3. He has excelled at math since his elementary school years at , she said.
“All those years, his teachers were really great,” she said. “They always taught him extra … they gave him extra work.”
“I knew he was very good, but I didn’t expect a perfect score,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Sixth-graders who take the SAT are given a packet of practice questions, but other than that, Louis said, “they are actually on their own.”
Louis said that Joshua was one of two Lake County sixth-graders to earn a perfect score this year. Only one other sixth-grader has achieved a perfect score since the program began 21 years ago, he said.
“We’re very proud of Josh, obviously,” he said.
The opportunity to take the SAT five years ahead of schedule is offered through Lake County Educational Services Talent Search, a cooperative that school districts can join for a fee. Membership offers educators access to professional development opportunities, library resources and other support, as well as the option for qualifying students to challenge themselves.
Last year, School District 96 was recognized when one of its middle school students achieved the highest score — 740 on the math portion of the exam — out of Lake County’s sixth-grade participants.
Those who score at least a 500 on the math portion of the SAT are invited to enroll in an advanced class for sixth-graders that is sponsored by Talent Search and run through College of Lake County. Seojin Yoon said her son likely will take advantage of the opportunity.
Joshua, an aspiring doctor, was honored last week by the School District 96 board, Twin Groves Principal Heather Friziellie and his math teachers for his achievement.
While math is his favorite subject, Joshua said he also pursues other interests in his free time. He said he enjoys playing the piano and playing baseball and basketball with his friends.
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