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Hubbard junior aces ACT exam

Staff photo / Beth Shiller Hubbard High School junior Abby Schindell scored a perfect 36 on her ACT exam, a number that she said she needed to get into Harvard and study to become a research mathematician.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of a series of Saturday profiles of area residents and their stories. To suggest a profile, contact features editor Burton Cole at bcole@tribtoday .com.

HUBBARD — Sixteen-year-old Abby Schindell did what many students can only dream of — she earned a perfect score on the ACT college entrance exam.

She is a self-proclaimed “procrastinating perfectionist” but was pushed to take the test early. It paid off.

“I honestly was so terrified because I had gotten a 35 the time before,” the Hubbard High School junior said. “So if I didn’t get the 36, that means I did either the same or worse. And it was like, it was so scary.”

Abby took the test four times before achieving the coveted 36. She first took the test as a freshman and received a 29. She took it twice more in her sophomore year and scored 35s.

Less than 0.2 percent of all test-takers nationally achieve a perfect 36.

Abby may be hard on herself but she really wants to go to Harvard and to do so, she said she has to be “perfect.”

“My goal is to go to Harvard. The average ACT for Harvard is a 34 or 35. So you need that score to get in. And I’m a perfectionist. So after I took it (and got the 29), I was like, ‘OK, that’s good.’ And then people started talking about it like, ‘Yeah, 36 is the highest you can get.’ I was like, ‘Oh, I want to get that.’ I want to be perfect,” she said.

Abby wants to study math and become a research mathematician.

“They (Harvard) look at course rigor as one of the main things because everyone has the ACT scores, everyone has the grades. So I’m going way further in math than our school offers. I’m doing calculus one and two at YSU right now, and next year I’m going to do three and four. So that like, I’ll have the calc sequence done before I go to college.”

Abby applies her perfectionist ways to all aspects of her life. She plays soccer and runs track and frequently volunteers with the National Honor Society. Just because she got a perfect score as a junior, doesn’t mean she’ll get to relax for her senior year. She holds a 4.0 grade-point average and plans to improve her ACT writing score as well as take calculus at YSU.

She said her perfectionist, do-things-early approach helped her land the 36 because there are items on the ACT that students don’t get exposed to until their senior year.

ADVICE TO TEST-TAKERS

Abby said she developed a plan to study, but, like a lot of students, she waited until almost the last minute.

“I’m a procrastinator. It was two weeks before the test and I was like, ‘All right, I need to do these tests.’ So I would sit down and make myself do it for an hour and like timed myself and everything.

“I had a plan. We were going to do it every weekend, we were going to take one test and then check all the answers and redo all the wrong ones. And we didn’t do that,” she said.

Her advice to others who are taking the ACT is to take the practice tests and look into why you got the answer wrong, don’t just accept that you need to do better.

“Most people just take the tests, and when they see their score, they’re like, ‘Oh, I need to do better.’ But you have to go to the book that has the explanations and actually find out what you did wrong.”

The test has five sections — math, science, English, reading and writing. Abby said the math section will always have a lot of trigonometry, probability and fractions and the English section will focus on commas, semicolons and repeated information.

“For the reading test, a lot of people say, ‘Oh, don’t actually read the passages, it takes too much time, look at the question and finished answer in the passage.’ But that takes more time overall. You want to read every story before you look at the questions,” she said.

“And then, for the science test, there’s always a series of experiments and then there’s about 10 questions for each experiment. For those, don’t read the experiments because they will just confuse you. You have to skim through to get the general idea of what they’re doing. All of the answers, if there are graphs and stuff, every single thing they ask you is going to be found in the graph.”

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