Interviewing Frederick Chango: Highest Score on the ACT

Now, many of us know that the ACT can be quite difficult. It is a time-based test where you score is dependent on how well you did under the pressure of time. According to the, the official ACT website, “The ACT is a standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. It is currently administered by ACT, a nonprofit organization of the same name. The ACT test covers four academic skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and scientific reasoning.” Over 1.67 million high school graduates in the class of 2020 took the ACT, and the scores are used by colleges or universities offering undergraduate programs, mostly in the US and Canada.” But did you know that less than half of the 1% of all test takers earn the top score? And that one of our seniors earned the highest possible ACT composite score on the ACT test? Well, now you know! According to the Knightly Update, “Among the U.S. high school graduates in the class of 2020, just 5,579 of the nearly 1.67 million students who took the ACT earned a composite score of 36.” Today, we’ll be interviewing Frederick Chango, a member of the Class of 2022, who also is the senior who earned that score. Let’s see what he has to say!

Q: Were you expecting to get a such a high score on the ACT? Is there anything you did to prepare for the ACT?

Frederick Chango

Which section of the ACT was more challenging in your opinion?

A: Nope, not at all. I expected a high score, but going in, definitely not a perfect score. I found some practice sections online because the ACT has a much different format compared to the PSAT/SAT run by College Board. By far, the most challenging was the English section. It’s very easy to lose focus of the overall structure of paragraphs when you’re asked to zone in on one specific sentence.

Q: What is one piece of advice you could give to a junior who is taking the ACT? Out of all three tests(PSAT, ACT, and SAT), which one did you least like the most and which one did you like the most, and why?

A: Practice pacing! The ACT is very unlike the PSAT; you’re expected to answer several questions in a much shorter time, so to get as much credit as possible, don’t stay stuck on a problem, move on and answer what you can first then come back. I dislike the SAT the most. It’s more stressful compared to the other two, and with it being divided into purely math and reading/grammar, fatigue was an issue. I may be biased, but I liked the ACT most. It keeps you thinking on your feet.

Q: As absolutely crazy as it sounds, do you personally think that getting a good score on the ACT benefited your work ethic or motivated you? Why?

A: The score is definitely motivation. The reality is that standardized tests, while somewhat indicative of academic ability, are being factored into admissions less and less. Top colleges want to see something beyond pure academics. I have one part of the puzzle complete; I have to continue to focus on showcasing who I am as a person outside of the numbers.

Q: As someone who is also from Speech and Debate, do you think Speech and Debate played a role in not just your score, but also you as an individual?

A:  Absolutely. I’ve always struggled with analyzing text, and Speech and Debate has honed my comprehensive abilities and critical thinking. But beyond that, Speech and Debate has given me the platform to use the voice I didn’t think I had, which has allowed me to connect with so many people that have each impacted my life and helped me grow as a person. Every interaction we have with each other gives us something to learn about ourselves and others. (And that’s why you should join Speech and Debate!)

Q: And finally, what is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

A: If you can get your hands on mango ice cream, please try it. Otherwise, my go-to is mint chocolate chip. Both flavors remind me of people important to me. And I understand that mint chip can taste like toothpaste. You’re just using the wrong toothpaste.

Like I stated earlier, the ACT is no joke nor easy beast to tackle. For some people, they may need to prepare extensively at least a few minutes a day, and for others, they don’t need that much preparation. We all work at different rates, but that doesn’t prohibit us from being able to achieve our full potential. While not many people earn a high score on the ACT, it IS possible. It just takes time and hard work. The ACT is taken in your junior year, so if you are a freshman or sophomore, then you still have time to prepare for the test. But as always, remember to strive for the impossible, Knights, and be extraordinary!