Own It: How Amazon’s Employee Rulebook Can Help You Ace the ACT and SAT | Winward Academy


Own It: How Amazon’s Employee Rulebook Can Help You Ace the ACT and SAT

Running a multi-billion dollar business is a lot like preparing to take the SAT or ACT. True, test takers don’t have to worry about appeasing stockholders or coming up with a cost-effective dental plan, but – believe it or not – there are similarities.

Take a look at the statement of the 14 Leadership Principles that Amazon.com promotes for its 560,000 employees. Now, a lot of companies have documents like this, but not all companies are Amazon.com, one of the most successful companies of all time. These are the rules they encourage employees to live by when they’re on the clock. Anybody preparing to take the ACT or SAT will notice a few parallels.


Amazon Leadership Principle #1: Customer Obsession

Much of Amazon’s success can be attributed to the company’s obsessive dedication to pleasing the customer. Amazon believes that leaders “start with the customer and work backwards.” For the ACT or SAT – consider yourself the customer. Or, rather, consider the future you the customer. What would make the future you happy when it comes to the ACT or SAT? Work backwards from that feeling, and do whatever you possibly can to make that happen.


Amazon Leadership Principle #2: Learn & Be Curious

Amazon also encourages its employees to learn and be curious. In other words – don’t let the job be a “job.” The key to performing well – and to enjoying the process of self-improvement – is to keep an open and excited mind. Don’t think of the concepts on the ACT and SAT as annoying, random facts that must be memorized and can then be promptly forgotten (although that may be tempting). Think of yourself as the main character in a Role Playing Game. With each study session and practice test, you’re leveling up. Then, on test day, when you strut into the exam room to vanquish the standardized test dragon, you’ll have the nicest sword and toughest armor – metaphorically speaking, of course.


Amazon Leadership Principle #3: Think Big

Jeff Bezos’s brainchild didn’t become the 800-pound gorilla of retail by thinking small. Neither should you. Think big. Think impressive scores. Think major improvements. It doesn’t make complete sense and it isn’t necessarily fair, but the SAT and ACT have a disproportionate impact on college admissions. Take advantage of that by betting big on yourself.


Amazon Leadership Principle #4: Insist on the Highest Standards

Amazon insists that its employees hold themselves to the highest standards. Do likewise. You’re head honcho of a company with only one mission: Do what it takes to get the score you need. So, think like a champion. Aim high, and be relentless. Don’t go nuts, of course. Be civil and kind, and don’t forget to breathe and bathe. But, for the love of Pete, put away your cell phone. Take study prep seriously, and we promise that you won’t regret it.


Amazon Leadership Principle #5: Deliver Results

And Amazon’s list goes on (there are 9 more, actually), but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention another of the company’s core tenants: Deliver Results. At Winward Academy, we pride ourselves on delivering exactly that for our students. In our 18 year history, the average improvement for someone studying for the ACT is 7.4 points. For the SAT, it’s 250 points. That kind of jump can make a MAJOR difference with college applications.

Of course, that’s not guaranteed, and the student must put in the work. But anything worthwhile takes effort, self-confidence, and a desire to prove something to yourself.

Just ask Jeff Bezos.



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About Winward Academy – Winward Academy is one of the world’s leading innovators in the online education space, providing web-based academic support that enhances students’ knowledge, confidence, and competitiveness in middle and high school academics and in college applications. We help thousands of students every year by providing personalized, comprehensive ACT and SAT test preparation and extensive math curriculum support. The Winward Academy learning platform honors over 40 years of education and cognitive psychology research, incorporating proven techniques that promote effective learning.

Winward Academy’s unmatched reputation is wholly attributable to our students’ exceptional success and to the trust earned among students, parents, and schools around the world.

Jennifer Winward, Ph.D.

Dr. Jennifer Winward is a renowned college instructor, a distinguished 20-year veteran of high school tutoring, and the founder and lead instructor of Winward Academy. She earned her Ph.D. specializing in adolescent brain development and adolescent learning. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude with highest distinction honors. Dr. Winward has been widely recognized for her academic success, published research, and philanthropic efforts with awards from the President of the United States, the California State Assembly, Rotary International, the Marin County School Administrator Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Science Foundation.