Imperfect Perfection; What do students with a 36 do wrong?


Yu-Lin Yang

(from left to right) Paul Cumberland, Sunny Chen, Dana Ahdab, Rachael Han, and Minsoo Kim

When most people learn of the numerous Hinsdale Central students who got perfect scores on the ACT, they imagine these people to be anti-social bookworms who studied for the standardized test every day, but as in any group at Central, these people break the stereotypes.  With a national average of 21 composite points, these students go above and beyond in standardized testing excellence. Of the 12 Hinsdale Central students who perfected their scores, Devil’s Advocate was able to meet with 7 of these students to get the scoop on their score.

To prepare, some of the group opted for practice tests and the ACT review book.

Rachael Han seemed to do the most studying, stating, “I bought the ACT book and used it to figure out strategies, like how to break up my time for the reading and science sections especially,” but she didn’t stop there, “I reviewed grammar and took the test in December in March and got a 36.”

But even though these seven students received perfect scores, they too felt the difficulties every other student feels while taking the approximately three-and-a-half-hour test, each of them struggling with different sections, including math, English, science, and essay writing, which three of the seven students agreed with.

The students have also struggled with the public knowledge of their success on a web page referred to as “the Wall,” which can be found here.

“I feel like the Wall is so unnecessary, I really don’t see the point of it,” says Han. “It shouldn’t have to be publicized,” which most of the group agreed with.

“I moved here in January and one of the first things I saw when researching [Hinsdale Central] was ‘the Wall’. It was a bad first impression because it seemed that the school wanted to brag about how many 36’s they had,” says Minsoo Kim.

Devils’ Advocate also learned that while these students excelled in the ACT, they happened to be pretty bad at some other things. Below is a list of the things these scholars are terrible at:

Paul Cumberland: Overeating, catching footballs

Sunny Chen: Drawing, comforting his cat

Rachael Han: Ripping plastic wrap

Shannon Sinwell: Being original

Dana Ahdab: Blowing balloons

Minsoo Kim: “Nothing”

Lauren Excell: Dancing