This past spring, freshman Varun Jain scored a perfect 2400 on the infamous standardized test that routinely crushes every kid’s hopes and dreams: the SAT.
Jain took the test during his eighth grade year and the gleaming results came back, with those of thousands of more students, this past summer. Having still been in middle school, Jain has gone down in SAT history as the first middle school student to achieve a perfect score.
This isn’t new to those who’ve already heard about it over the summer on ABC 7 News, the Yahoo! Front Page, several local newspapers, or on his older brother Vishal’s Facebook page, which proudly announced to the Monte Vista community the news of the incoming genius.
But how does an eighth grader, with only three days of preparation, accomplish what takes high schoolers thousands of dollars in tutoring and months of grueling study to achieve, while most still end up with a less than superb score?
Jain’s history of taking rigorous classes can ultimately be credited for his accomplishment on the SAT.
“I think that there is obviously a certain element of just beating the test,” Jain said. “But it still makes you think and understand the material, and you still have to have some level of comprehension to do well.”
Today, Jain’s English 9 copy of Of Mice and Men lies next to his AP Chemistry and AP Calculus BC notes in his backpack. Although he attended elementary and middle school at the elite private school Dorris Eaton in Walnut Creek, taking online courses allowed Jain to grow as a student at a faster, more individualized rate.
He was able to take high school level classes such as Algebra I by the third grade through online educational programs such as the Stanford-run Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY), and the John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY).
Jain is currently enrolled in college-level online courses for Physics, Biology, and Chemistry, in addition to his mixture of typical freshman and advanced upperclassman courses at Monte Vista. He plans on using the online course credit to graduate as a junior.
But Jain believes there is still hope for those who didn’t take his third grade standard of math until the eighth grade or high school (A.K.A., average Monte Vista student), to excel academically and score high on the SAT.
“Even if you’re not naturally good at something, you can still become good if you put enough hard work, even if it will take more [time],” Jain said
Most of Jain’s advanced classes revolve around math and science. Jain, who claimed to study both subjects for three to four hours a day on average, labels them as his passions.
“At a young age, [my family] got me interested in math and science, which most kids wouldn’t be feeling at that age,” Jain said.
But Jain, who frequently credits his family as his motivation, has never felt his parents force him into his studies. It is a genuine interest and a natural talent for math and science that helps spur his excellence.
“[My parents] don’t push me too hard,” Jain said. “They just want me to do what I like.”
His one and only brother junior Vishal Jain bolsters his brother’s academic pursuits, as well. His brother serves as a role model, having also entered Monte Vista as a freshman loaded with advanced courses.
“Between [my brother and I], it has been more like, helping each other, cooperation instead of competition,” Jain said.
Varun Jain and his brother also excel musically, having recently released a sitar album together, which Jain claimed to be “a fusion, jazz-type of music with saxaphone, flute, sitar…”. The CD includes collaborations with professional artists.
If you are interested in purchasing the CD, speak to Varun or Vishal, or email [email protected] Hard copies sell for $10 each. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Sankara Eye Foundation, which “takes the money and does eye operations for treatable eye conditions in third-world countries.”