PORTSMOUTH, Va. -- Marshall Taylor, a junior at Churchland High School, is going to be the first in his family to go to college. He already completed one step to get there - scoring an almost perfect score on the SAT exam.
"I plan to go to the University of Virginia, and I want to be a physics major,” Taylor said.
This is a big deal not just for him, but for his entire family.
"I’ll be a first-generation college student,” Taylor said. “A big weight to bear being the first person going to college."
He scored a 790 out of 800 on the SAT's math portion of the exam and a 680 out of 800 on the English portion.
"I was pretty happy,” Taylor said. “When I was taking practices, I never did that well, so I guess being in the test really got me in the moment."
Math is Taylor’s favorite subject, and he explained why.
"I like how concrete it is. Compared to other subjects math is very definite,” Marshall explained. “There’s always a certain way to understand something."
For the last year, his classes were all virtual. This meant he had to study for the SAT exam virtually.
"I think most people study for the SAT on their own,” Taylor said, “but the schools sometimes offer SAT prep courses.”
He said they did not offer in-person preparation courses this time because of the pandemic. He had to rely on practice SATs, review materials and books.
He also credits his calculus teacher.
“I would say my calculus teacher, whose name is Mr. Zahraoui,” Taylor explained. “What he teaches in class - the mindset that you need in testing situations - is very helpful."
When he told the great news to his parents, he says they were happy but not surprised. That is because they saw how much Taylor studied.
“They see me prepping a lot,” Taylor said. “So, it would be a very, very big let down if I didn’t do super well because I really over-prepped for it."
He said he plans to take another SAT exam. His goal for the second time is to score even higher.
“To someone who is preparing for the SAT, don’t give up,” Taylor urged others getting ready for the exam. “If you’re not seeing results right now, keep persevering."