MEK Success Stories: Joon Paik, Columbia 2023

Meet Joon Paik

We love talking to our past students and finding out how they transformed their mindset, studying habits and test-taking strategies, during their time at MEK Review. Enjoy our interview below with Joon Paik, one of our student alumni. We are so proud of his accomplishments, discipline and hard work. Joon is headed to Columbia University this upcoming Fall!


Tell us your name, and share which course you graduated from at MEK Review.

My name is Joon Paik. I took the SAT Summer Boot Camp in 2017. I was sixteen years old when I started and am currently eighteen.

Joon Paik


What was your original SAT score?

The first time I took a practice SAT, I got a 1260.


What was your official SAT score, after classes at MEK Review?

I scored 1520 [790 in math and 730 in English] in the August 2017 SAT, but my super score is 1530 [790 in math and 740 in English].


What was the most helpful aspect of your courses?

When I was in SAT Basics, I found that the mock tests every Friday very helpful because it was a measure on how I was improving.

It was nice to see that my efforts were paying off little by little. Even if I did not score as well as I wanted to, my teachers always went over the tests and answered all of our questions.

The weekly tests also built up my stamina for the actual SAT. I lose focus a lot when I try to concentrate for a long time, so this was very helpful.


How did MEK Review transform your study and test-taking habits?

MEK Review’s program encouraged me to organize my notes efficiently and to review them after class. In addition, the teachers waste no time in teaching us essential points for the SAT, so I had to stay focused throughout the day.

During my junior year, I mimicked the note-taking methods in MEK, and it had helped me studied for important assessment, especially for the AP tests. After many classes, my test-taking habits began to shift as well. I no longer wasted time on questions with which I struggled, and I reviewed my notes more often even when I do not have a test soon.


How did the teachers help you accomplish your goals?

My teachers went over many topics that would appear on the test, which I learned much, but I found the best information my teachers gave me was their test-taking strategies.

In the grammar/writing section, Miss Rachel taught me to recognize certain characteristics in order to categorize the questions and to answer them according the type of question.

Similarly, Mr. Gupta helped me recognize types of math questions in the test, which helped me go through the test quickly. I found Mr. Chris’s advice in the critical reading section the most helpful: you must find the author’s purpose in the passage before you can answer the questions. Since I usually struggle with critical reading, I found this was the best recommendation.


Which college are you attending? What are your future plans?

I will be attending Columbia University in fall. I have been recruited on the fencing team, so I hope I will be able to fence all four years and high achieve level of academic prowess.

However, I am not sure what I want to major yet, and I have until end of sophomore year to decide. If I had to choose now, I would probably choose either finance or the pre-med track. I am currently focusing on keeping my grades up as well as practicing for future fencing competitions.


Joon PaikWhat is the biggest impact MEK Review had on you?

My most positive result of my attending MEK Review is my SAT score.

I took the SAT right before my junior year, and since I got a 1520 on my first try, I was able to contact college coaches quickly.

This allowed me to clearly plan college visits and meeting early on when the coaches were not as busy.

My result opened a lot of opportunities that I was able to take advantage of.


Join the Journey

Are you seeking to boost your test scores to get into your dream school? Need guidance with navigating the complex world of college admissions? Explore our College Test Prep courses and one-on-one College Admissions Counseling to find the help you need! To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us at 855-346-1410 or contact us.

MEK Review

MEK Review is the top learning center in North Jersey, dedicated to helping students of all ages begin an incredible success story. With our guidance, students have gained acceptances into the best schools in the country, earned top test scores, prepared for difficult admission tests, and transformed into their best selves in the classroom. To find your perfect solution, explore our programs or book your free consultation with an expert counselor!


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