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Sonoma Valley High grad launches ACT test prep start-up

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The Course

36Prep.com is a self-paced ACT course, designed to achieve the same, or better, results than private test prep tutors. It was designed with knowledge of the most current ACT guidelines, question styles and logic required to get a perfect score. The course is $399. Scholarships are available to low-income students. www.36prep.com.

Thanks to a Sonoma Valley High School alum and his college roommate turned business partner, there is a new option for high school students seeking preparation for the ACT exam.

Arthur Morgan (SVHS ‘13) and Alex Aabedi have co-founded 36 Prep, an online course designed to help students earn their best possible scores on the college admissions test.

“A lot of times these test prep companies… might be teaching you test prep but they’re not actually saying what the credentials of the instructor are. They might just be reading lessons out of a manual,” Morgan said as he described his and Aabedi’s goal to, “create a successful course that is at once cost-effective, but also better.”

The two originally decided to team up for the project after seeing how hard they both worked while attending UCLA. Aabedi graduated with a 4.0 GPA in neuroscience while Morgan graduated summa cum laude in 2016 with a degree in American literature.

“We were very driven,” said Morgan, 23. “We kind of drove each other.”

When Aabedi took the MCAT exam for medical school admissions, he scored in nearly the 100th percentile. He then decided to create CurveSetter Tutoring.

“He took his expertise with the MCAT and ended up creating a fully online course, and he’s now helped more than a hundred students get into medical school,” said Morgan.

Meanwhile, Morgan was busy launching two e-commerce wine-accessory businesses: California Champagne Saber Co. and Wine-N-Gear.

Between Aabedi’s knowledge of tutoring and Morgan’s experience with business, the pair decided to combine their strengths in addition to adding another member to their team, RJ Schrek.

Aabedi had grown up with Schrek and watched him find educational success. After earning the perfect score of a 36 on the ACT, Schrek received offers from top engineering programs including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Duke University and the University of Michigan. He’s now a Division 1 baseball player at Duke.

With Schrek’s contribution, 36 Prep is “basically the only course now on the market that is taught from the ground up by a perfect scorer,” according to Morgan.

One key belief behind 36 Prep is that anyone can achieve a high score on the ACT when given proper instruction.

“Really what we’re trying to convey to the general public is that these tests are solvable,” said Aabedi. “There are proper ways to address each question, each passage type, and it really just comes down to those techniques and being comfortable with the way these passages are presented.”

Once a student signs up with 36 Prep, he or she has access to a scheduled study guide with video modules, practice questions and discussion boards, all designed to match the techniques used by Schrek to earn a perfect score.

Each section of the ACT is broken down into different modules that cover specific topics and strategies that will help students earn their best scores.

“This ACT course really levels the playing field,” said Morgan. He emphasized how some students cannot afford tutors and programs that others can. 36 Prep is designed to be accessible to any student on any mobile device anywhere.

“Students can study wherever they have internet connection,” said Morgan.

They also offer payment plans and 12 scholarships a year that allow chosen students to enroll in 36 Prep tuition-free. The application can be found on the course’s website.

The Course

36Prep.com is a self-paced ACT course, designed to achieve the same, or better, results than private test prep tutors. It was designed with knowledge of the most current ACT guidelines, question styles and logic required to get a perfect score. The course is $399. Scholarships are available to low-income students. www.36prep.com.

Morgan stayed on in Los Angeles after graduation, but still visits Sonoma often for work and to see friends, and his father Karl and mother Frédérique Mary.

“I’ve fallen in love with Los Angeles but when I think about where I’ll come back to when I have a family, I still think about Sonoma,” he said.

For now, Morgan and Aabedi are passionate about 36 Prep and the education sphere. They hope to create a similar tutoring course for the GRE exam.

“At the end of the day we’re happy we didn’t take any shortcuts with this course,” said Morgan. “It’s really just exactly what we had envisioned.”

www.36prep.com