A perfect score in TOEFL, SAT or AP was considered impossible until 15-year-old Shreya Vardhan set the world record score by attaining 100% in all three exams. She talks to Youth Inc about achieving this feat
After achieving this commendable feat, how have academic options opened up for you?
Although standardised test scores help, they are not the only criteria for evaluation of an application. As for my academic options, I’m still in the process of applying.
What preparations did you undertake for these exams (techniques, duration, etc)?
I don’t think there’s a lot of preparation required. What I mainly did to prepare was take many practice tests from various books. This helped me get used to the pattern of questioning. It also helped me discover my strengths and weaknesses.
The TOEFL consists of a listening section, is it difficult for Indian students to score well in this section due to the differences in English accents?
I don’t think so; the passages and dialogues are very clear and easy to understand.
Considering you have a flair for writing and have published articles, do you see yourself carving a niche in the world of publishing?
I love to write, both fiction and nonfiction. I recently completed my first novel, a domestic comedy called How Charming, Mr. Bombaywallah! I have written a number of short stories as well as articles on subjects like autism and my favourite authors. I really enjoy writing and certainly intend to continue to write.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I like to read, write, play tennis, swim and paint.
Who is your role model?
I don’t think I have one single role model. There are a number of people from whom there is a lot to learn despite their flaws, even from fictitious characters in books, like Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice or Florentyna Kane in The Prodigal Daughter, and from people in history, like Jawaharlal Nehru and C.V. Raman.
Tell us a little more about your initiative to develop a software aiding autistic children.
I have been working as a volunteer at a school for autistic children called the Umeed Foundation. I extended the ABA and TEACCH techniques I observed at the school to a computerised format to create a learning environment that was both attractive and contextual.
How do you make time for extracurricular activities?
By setting deadlines, enjoying every activity while I’m engaged in it and trying to get the most out of my time.
After completing your higher education, would you prefer to work abroad or in India?
I intend to do research; the answer therefore depends on whether I can find the facilities for the area in which I wish to focus on within India itself. But either way, I’d definitely like to eventually help create or improve facilities for research in the fundamental sciences in India and to try and spread an approach of seeking knowledge for its own sake.
What are your future plans?
I plan to do research and write.
Could you give some tips to students who wish to write foreign exams on how they should prepare?
Find out the pattern of the test and practise.
Shreya’s Perfect Score Sheet:
SAT Reasoning Test:
SAT Subject Tests:
Advanced Placement tests: 5/5 in all subjects
The words that best describe Shreya:
Susceptible to fascination
Kitty Jones in Ptolemy’s Gate
Completing my book. It was also the most satisfying feat.
Setting a world record score feels like:
There’s still a lot left to do.
What are the exams all about?
SAT Reasoning: Tests critical reading, basic mathematics and writing skills.
SAT Subject Test: Tests your knowledge in a subject of your choice
TOEFL: Tests abilities of speaking and listening
AP: Tests knowledge in subjects of your choice; college-level syllabus
Volume 2 Issue 9