I recently read an interesting article on a test preparation company in China called “New Oriental Education” that drew my attention because of the niche they established in the Chinese market. I was not surprised by the fact that students would be paying for test preparation; in fact, I would think the “Tiger mum” article as well as many other examples show more or less the heavy emphasis that the Chinese place on academics. Instead, I was quite amazed that this company specialised in helping Chinese students target the standardized tests necessary to attend colleges in the United States. The company realises the growing number of wealthy Chinese families who are willing to make big investments in their children for them to attend American colleges and universities.
New Oriental’s research into the tests has allowed them to cater their intensive two month program to native Chinese-speaking students, determining and exploiting trends and patterns in the SAT and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Various strategies used by students to much success include studying Steve Jobs and using his experiences as talking or writing points, as well as eliminating answers that include “being” for the SAT grammar questions. The article cites Morgan Meng as a successful student from the program. She raised her SAT score from 1670 to 2040 out of 2400 and raised her TOEFL score from 65 to 90 out of 120 by applying aforementioned methods. In doing so, she will now be attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign which required a 79 minimum TOEFL.
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