Youth basketball coach, Kids in Crisis volunteer, Physics Bowl champion, three-season athlete… the moment you speak with Alec Kazlauskas, you can tell that he’s a driven, passionate, and determined guy. Alec is thrilled to be headed to Texas Christian University (TCU) in the fall, where he received a scholarship based on a number of factors, his stellar ACT score included. We had a chance to sit down with Alec and learn a bit more about him, his test prep journey, and his advice for students just starting the process.

“I actually started my testing journey freshman year, by taking the SAT first. So I really did space it out which really did help,” says Alec.  Alec started by taking a practice test of both the SAT and the ACT during his freshman year of high school.  After realizing that he is an extremely fast test taker, he directed his focus to the ACT and learning the content and strategy for that specific test. Starting early allowed him to zone in on exactly what he needed to master.

By his sophomore year, he was already looking at the foundational content and getting exposed to the timing of each test.  Alec reflected with us about the importance of getting the tests’ content, strategy, and timing in your long-term memory: “Everybody else was new to it sophomore or junior year, and I had already known what the test was about, and had already learned the timing and everything else.”

Alec then went on to do a three-month prep course by a test prep company in Wilton, but kept plateauing at a score of 32.  Alec had a hunch that gaining a few more points would open up more doors for him in the college application process, so he decided to push himself further to get there through targeted practice with a private tutor.

After working with a Carnegie Prep tutor for a few sessions, he really started to see progress: “[My tutor] really opened up ways to understand [test taking] — I even use the techniques I learned on tests in school.” With his tutor’s help, Alec was able to pinpoint the specific sections where he knew he could gain the most points in order to increase his composite score. For Alec, this meant learning techniques and concepts to nail the Science section. Through intentional targeting, he was able to raise his 28 on Science up to a 31, which, along with a few gained points on other sections, brought his composite from a 32 to a 34 in just a few sessions!

When Alec was looking at colleges, he was actually considering another school before TCU reached out with a scholarship opportunity to accompany his acceptance. Alec was pleasantly surprised to hear that the Chancellor was “blown away” by his ACT score and that it played a key role in his scholarship award. For Alec, TCU “kind of spoke to me while [he] was there and it is a very respectable institution with amazing school spirit.” His older brother also attends TCU, which also has helped demonstrate the school’s commitment to its students.

Alec plans on studying business and pre-law, before heading on to do a law degree in contract law.

If he could go back and give his freshman year self a piece of advice, he would say, first, “don’t be lazy!” and second, “keep doing you, my dude!”  When we asked him about how he juggles priorities (of which he has many!), he said that he just tried to start test prep as early as possible before it all got overwhelming. Alec spends a lot of time thinking about his future as he strongly believes that it’s never a bad idea to start thinking about what’s to come. Speaking of the unknown, he’s also hoping to be an avid spectator of TCU’s D1 Basketball and Football.

Oh, and his MLB walk-out song?  Welcome to the Show by Cody Johnson. Texas, here he comes!