2016-2017 juniors Kimberly Chieh and Landon Dyken both scored a perfect 36 on the ACT. A perfect 36 is the rarest ACT score of all – less than one-tenth of one percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score.
The fact that Chieh and Dyken are juniors and scored a 36, makes their accomplishment even more rare.
“After I found out I had made a 36, I was really excited first, and also relieved,” says Dyken, who is from Gulf Shores. “I knew I could do it before, and I had been trying for a long time, so it felt really good knowing I had finally reached my goal.”
“My parents and I opened the letter together and saw the score – then we started yelling and jumping around,” says Chieh, who is from Mobile. “All of us were very excited. I can really attribute my success to my family and friends for always supporting me and believing in me.”
As one could imagine, scoring a perfect 36 requires many hours of studying.
“I studied using an ACT prep book and ACT math guide sheets, but I also was a part of Mrs. [Sarah] Brewer’s PSAT Prep Directed Reading (DR) at the beginning of this year,” Chieh says. “I think her class really helped my score. I was able to work a lot on my math skills, which was my lowest score.”
Dyken also agrees that ASMS Math Instructor Sarah Brewer’s PSAT Prep DR helped perfect his score.
“I had already made a 35 as a sophomore, so I knew I could do it, but going up that last point took me several tries,” Dyken says. “Before this last ACT, the thing I think helped me to score perfect was the PSAT Prep Class I took at ASMS. It was always the math test that kept me from the 36.”
Chieh gives the following tips for test takers.
“The best advice I can give is don’t be nervous,” Chieh says. “Whenever I take standardized tests, I go into a state of complete calm and focus. I concentrate so hard that I don’t have time to worry about if an answer was right or if the question was too easy. Don’t second guess yourself too much!”
Dyken has another suggestion to getting past the nerves.
“One of the best things I can recommend is finding out what you’re bad at and focusing your practice around that,” Dyken says. “If you can never finish the reading, practice reading in a time limit; if the science confuses you, practice looking at the scientific graphs. Above all, though, take the test multiple times. The more you take it, the more comfortable you’ll get and the better you’ll do.”
Chieh hopes to major in chemistry and possibly double major in public health or biology when she attends college.
“As of right now, I want to go into pharmacy and become a clinical pharmacist and work in hospitals,” Chieh says. “
Dyken hopes to major in a field related to research or medicine when he attends college.
“ASMS has had a huge impact on me and made me a much better student,” Dyken says. “Before I came here, I really did not have to study or try at all to make A’s. ASMS has forced me to learn how to study and how to be productive with my time. I’m glad to be here because it has led me to become more hard-working and focused on academics.”