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Photos courtesy of @SMEOffice
Eight seniors received a perfect 36 on at least one section of the June ACT test. Senior Peter Haynes netted a perfect composite score, as well as a 36 on all sections except math, on which he scored a 35. While previous senior classes at East have had students who received perfect scores, there have never been this many perfect scores out of the same testing session.
Ten days prior to finding out his score, Haynes had walked out of the test feeling confident; there was no doubt in his mind he had improved upon his previous score of 33. Haynes said he stayed up until midnight to see his results.
“I had anticipated [getting a 36] after I took the test,” Haynes said. “I left the room and I was like ‘I don’t know if I missed a question.”
Upon seeing his score, Haynes texted his mom, Cindy Leighton. Leighton screamed and ran down the stairs to the basement where Haynes was hanging out with friends. She was shocked, despite the fact that he had told her he felt like he would do well. But after that initial moment of surprise, Leighton was ecstatic. She quickly shared the information with friends and family.
“I put it on Facebook immediately,” Leighton said. “We just got phone calls and texts and Facebook messages for days and days. I think there were 450, or something ridiculous like that.”
Seniors, like Haynes, who scored perfect sections found studying with prep books to be helpful. Senior Devon Dietrich, who scored 36 on the reading, took practice tests from ACT prep books then used her practice scores to tailor her studying schedule. She focused her attention on science, which she struggled with on the practice tests. According to Dietrich, working hard in difficult courses to prepare her for college was paying off, which was encouraging.
“[My score] gives [me] confidence in the sureness that college will be okay,” Dietrich said. “It’s some reassurance that [I’m] on the right path. It just made me feel good.”
Senior Eric Blom, who got a perfect on both the reading and science sections, took an ACT prep class about a month before the test date to get prepared. He started studying with an online course review about two months before the test, which also helped him.
While each student tackled the issue differently, Haynes, Dietrich and Blom said breaking down the test, understanding your weaknesses and remaining calm were key to their success.
Haynes studied for about a week on his own before the test, using two ACT test prep books. He sat at the kitchen table and studied for about one to two hours the first days of the week, then increased his study time to three to four hours on Thursday and Friday before the test. According to Haynes he has always been a good test taker, so he didn’t need much extra preparation. Despite his accomplishment, Leighton and other family members tease Haynes that he isn’t completely perfect; he got a 1580 out of 1600 on the SAT.
Principal John McKinney is a strong proponent of the importance of standardized tests. He is thrilled about the students’ achievements, and the reflection it has on East as a learning environment.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment,” McKinney said. “It shows [the students’] commitment and desire to succeed. It really does reflect positively on not just the students and their families, but the teachers that helped get them there. I’d like to think it reflects positively on the high school and their administration.”
Haynes and Dietrich are satisfied with their scores, but Blom will take the test again this coming fall in hopes of improvement.