Grace Z (Takoma Park → RM/IB)

The preparation to take the Magnet test is a stressing and very difficult process; almost as demanding as the actual test is. However hard I worked, I never thought I was ready. I studied at every opportunity, strengthened my vocabulary, and practiced my writing every day, but still didn’t believe it was enough. I had no confidence in any of my abilities, and was certain there was no way I would be able to get into any of the high schools.

The Magnet test was a once in a lifetime opportunity, that would definitely benefit me in the future, if I did well. Knowing how important it was, I wanted to be as both physically and mentally prepared for it as I could be. My parents, who also played a huge factor in my admission to all three high schools, decided to enroll me in a program named Dr. Li. I had heard of it before, but didn’t expect it to help my chances of getting into any of my desired high schools. I can now look back and see how much I was mistaken.

The first day in the program was probably the worst. The program had so many smart, talented people, and I felt inferior to them. I saw a few of my friends, but I thought they were all unquestionably going to be admitted into the high school of their choice. Those three hours, we worked on few math questions, and was told to write an essay in only half an hour. Before that first day, I had written many essays, but never in such a short amount of time, and never with a literary requirement. Later, when I got the essay back, I saw that I had no specific idea, no clear paragraphs, and no literary example. I got a 0; a truly horrifying score, and way lower than I expected; which wasn’t very high in the first place. Meanwhile, in the math section, I can say that I failed, without exaggerating. I took my failed worksheets, went home, shut myself in my room, and swore never to go back.

I did, however, go back, determined to do well the program, and for my Magnet test. It was that first failure that motivated me, and I honestly improved a lot. One of my problems was my time management. Dr. Li helped me work on my efficiency, and those half hour essays prepared me for the Magnet test essay, which I finished early, and checked over. I also managed my time carefully throughout the entire test and its sections, which definitely benefited me.

Another mental challenge was my confidence; I had none. I was convinced that only a miracle would get me an admission. My success with the Dr. Li program changed that mentality. My scores on the math tests got higher, while my essays got better and easier to write. I have now gotten into all three Magnet high schools, which is no easy task. I have worked hard to be in the promising position I am in right now, and I am confident that it was my serious preparation and steadily improving abilities that got me here.