Chris Askins

Chris Askins is a senior this year at Leigh who scored a perfect 36 on the ACT. This is definitely an impressive accomplishment considering how difficult it is to reach a composite score in the 30’s, let alone a 36. Here is Chris’ advice for taking the test:


Q: Is there anything specific that you think helped you score as well as you did?

A: ”Well, when I take a test, I don’t think of it as an objective series of questions and answers. I think of it as an exam written by people, and people are easier to predict. In the English section specifically, when given a grammar question that I’m unsure of, I look at other questions to see if there are any similar, and note how they are worded, which helps a lot. And in the more subjective reading sections, it’s always good to read all of the questions of a certain text before answering, because they often have an underlying theme. The math is just logic, and all you really need for that is a clear head.”


Q: Students tend to struggle with the time limit. How did you master this?

A: “The time limits on the ACT are cutting it a bit close, as opposed to other tests, but they’re far from impossible. As long as you keep track of how long you’re taking relative to the time allotted, then you know how fast to go. I’d look at the time when I’m about halfway, so I’d know whether to speed up or slow down.”


Q: What colleges are you applying to/have applied to?

A: “Cal Poly SLO, UCSB, and UCLA. Half for engineering, and half for their music programs. I’m a guitarist/drummer/keyboardist, and that’s where most of my interest is.”


Q: Do you have any advice for people taking the ACT?

A: “As I said before, you can’t really study for the ACT like a normal test. If you want to know English better, than read more books. If you want to do better at math, then think about how numbers work. It’s not just a matter of “memorize this and get a 36.” But, y’know, whatever boats your float, man.”


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For online:


Q: How did you do it? Did you have a tutor or take any courses to prepare? How long had you been studying before you took the test?

A: “As far as studying goes, I went online to do some ACT practice problems the night before, but got distracted about 10 minutes in, and then fell asleep. Studying for it is like brushing your teeth only right before you go to the dentist. Your dentist might think your teeth are a little cleaner, but it doesn’t really help much more than that.”


Q: What was the hardest part for you? Why?

A: ”I can be extraordinarily long winded. This means that writing on a time limit SUUUUUUUUUCKS, and the ACT essay response is no exception. I can be a bit of a perfectionist too, so that doesn’t help either. Luckily, the essay doesn’t bring my composite score down, so yay!”


Q: Were you expecting to get a 36 or were you surprised?

A: ”Judging by the SAT score I had already received, it seemed like a 36 would be the score I was most likely to get. It was still pretty righteous to find out though.”