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Priya Bhatt and Hank Griffin
Posted On: Monday, September 9, 2019

Priya Bhatt and Hank GriffinAdd the names of Priya Bhatt and Hank Griffin to the district’s growing list of perfect scorers on the ACT college-prep exam.

Their achievements came earlier this year when both were juniors. Now seniors, they are extremely pleased with the results and using it to their advantage when submitting college applications. The scores place them in the top one-tenth of 1 percent of test-takers nationally. (Pictured at right: Priya and Hank as seniors; below, as Ottawa Hills first graders!)

They used different prep techniques: Hank worked practice problems from an ACT book and met with a tutor a few times to brush up on his English and reading knowledge. Priya’s main form of preparation was taking the exam frequently. She first took the ACT in 8th grade to see how well she would do; her scores gradually improved every year.

Both are excellent students and active in many extracurricular activities. And both are still applying to colleges. For Hank, his short list includes Northwestern University, Davidson College, the University of North Carolina, the University of Virginia, and Miami University. Priya will be submitting applications to about 12 schools.

Hank and Priya - first gradeThey offered similar advice for OH students preparing for the exam: practice, practice, practice. “My advice would be to take the test as many times as possible,” Priya said. “Reading the books can get boring, whereas taking the test can engage your interest more easily.” Added Hank: “The more questions you do, the more you will be familiar with the kinds of questions the ACT asks.”

The ACT is a standardized test used for college admissions and covers English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. Each section is individually scored on a 1-36 scale; the composite score is a rounding of the average of the four sections.

According to the blog PrepScholar, 1.9 million students in the class of 2018 took the ACT. Of them, just one-tenth of one percent got a perfect score. The national average was 20.8; a score of 24 or higher placed a test-taker in the 74th percentile (better than 74 percent of all scores).

“We are extremely proud of their success and study habits,” said Ben McMurray, Junior/Senior High School principal. “We had other students who were close to perfection, and their combined effort showcases the strength of our curriculum and the quality of our instruction.”

So after leaving the testing classroom (the exam is about 3 hours and 30 minutes with breaks), did either feel like they had crushed it?

“I knew I would be satisfied but I did not know I would do as well as I did,” said Hank. “It was definitely a welcome surprise when I checked my score.”

Priya’s testing day had two distracting twists. First, a friend came into the testing classroom at the high school to say that Priya’s car … was still running. She had driven her father’s car that morning and his remote starter had somehow been activated, restarting the car. “I was so frantic trying to get there to turn it off and back in time,” Priya said. She then experienced access difficulties with the online exam, such as being logged out for a long time. That was on her mind as she left the classroom.

“I even emailed the ACT Corporation to ask for a retest,” Priya said. “They never got back to me, so I guess it went in my favor.”

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