How to get a perfect ACT score

Tiffany Yang, (pictured) a junior at Ironwood High School in the Peoria District, says it’s important to believe you can do something, and then make it happen. Of course it’s also important to lay the groundwork.

Yang scored a perfect 36 on her composite ACT test. The ACT is a standardized achievement test for high school students consisting of English, math, reading and science tests.

I asked Yang how she earned a perfect score, because fewer than one percent of ACT test-takers earn a perfect score on the test. She said she took a few practice tests to get used to the way the multiple-choice questions were worded and check that she used her time efficiently to get to all the questions.

The ACT tests measure how much students have learned in specific subject areas. Yang is in the International Baccalaureate program at Ironwood and takes honors and AP courses so I suspect the practice tests played a minimal role in her perfect score.

I was hoping, when I went to talk to her Wednesday, she would tell me that her secret to a perfect score was drinking Red Bull and eating Fig Newtons. Yang doesn’t study all day every day. She’s too busy with the varsity track team and a variety of school clubs and organizations. So, how did she do it?

I asked her if she had always been a good student. “I guess,” she said. “I get straight As in school,” she added. She also got straight As through elementary and middle school.

Yang says , “I listen really well in class, stay focused on what the teacher is teaching and study the material afterwards at home so I don’t forget it or anything.”

Yang says her dad is an engineer, so there was always math help if she needed it. And her mother is a second grade teacher who worked with her a lot when she was in elementary school. But there’s more. Yang says her parents had high expectations for her to do well in school and she worked hard to meet those expectations.

To review, the secrets to a perfect score on the ACT are establishing good study habits early on, getting extra help when necessary, paying attention in class, studying the material at home and meeting high expectations.

Sadly, no real secrets, special formulas or tricks or even Fig Newtons.

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