Ashley Y (Cabin John MS → RM/IB )

I still vividly remember the first time my mom brought me Richard Montgomery High School. It was early September and I was eight years old. I remember my mom bringing me close and telling me, “This is a very good school. I hope you can go here for high school one day”. I remembering thinking, high school was ages away, too far ahead for my eight year old mind to grasp. However, I was wrong.

The next few years quickly sped past me and before I knew it I was at the end of seventh grade and contemplating high school. I immediately knew I wanted to attend the IB Program at Richard Montgomery and I quickly became obsessed with getting accepted into it. However, a huge obstacle stood in my way: the magnet admissions test.

The admissions test was an infamous test for rooting out the best students in the county to attend the programs. It highly influenced one’s chances of getting in. However, I was never particularly good at taking these tests. The only other one I took was in third grade, which I failed miserably, so in fifth grade I did not even bother. I was determined to make this time different.

The next question that plagued my mind was, how? I was not extraordinarily smart or had any exceptional talents. I struggled to find an answer to this question. Luckily, one day, my mom mentioned a program called Dr. Li GT Prep. Many of my high school friends at Richard Montgomery took this program. My mom offered to send me to this program and I immediately accepted.

In August, I went in to take a pre-test to help determine our skill levels. I found the test relatively easy, but I was still anxious to see my results, which would be given to us on the first day of the prep classes, which was in a few weeks.

The weeks quickly flew by and soon eighth grade began along with Dr. Li GT Prep. I was ecstatic to start improving my skills. However, I was a bit nervous as well. What if I don’t know anybody there? What if I can’t keep up? These questions plagued me the night before. When I walked in, I was surrounded by a sea of familiar faces. My worries from the previous night disappeared as I immersed myself into the reading and math packets. However, I got an embarrassingly low score on the pre-test, which reminded me I had a long way to go and prompted me to work more vigorously.

Over the course of several weeks I worked feverishly to improve my reading and math skills and learned new tricks to solve problems more efficiently. I watched as my scores on the drills went up dramatically and my speed doubling. Before I knew it, it was Thanksgiving break and the test was a week away. Almost every day, Dr. Li gave us a mock exam that closely resembled the real test, though it was more difficult.

That week flew by and soon enough it was the day of the test. I was extremely nervous. Though I did relatively well on the test and improved a lot over the course of a few weeks, I still missed several questions on the mock exams. However, once I started the test I realized it was extremely easy, much easier than the questions in Dr. Li. I sped through them and I finished the test with fifty minutes left to check over my answers.

Afterwards, I felt I did well, but did not want to become overconfident. Two months later, in early February I received a letter that I got accepted into the IB Program at Richard Montgomery High School in addition to the Math and Science Program at Blair and the Global Ecology Program at Poolesville. All this I owe to Dr. Li and I am very grateful I had to opportunity to attend.