In a rare and difficult feat, Odessa High School student Aakash Angirekula scored a perfect 36 on the ACT college entrance test, which he took in June.
Angirekula, who is 16, turns 17 this month and will be a senior.
“I was pretty surprised. I wasn’t expecting it — a perfect score. I was hoping to get maybe like a 34 or 35. I was shocked. I just ran to tell my mom. I saw it on my computer. I just decided to check randomly. I didn’t even know the scores had come out, so I just looked and I just immediately ran to tell my mom,” he said.
Aakash is the son of Mohana and cardiologist Dr. Manohar Angirekula.
His mother, Mohana, was over the moon about Aakash’s score.
“I was also hoping for a 35 or so, but to get a 36, that was really awesome. I know he worked hard, but still it doesn’t matter. Thirty-five (35) would have been just great. It was definitely awesome,” Mohana Angirekula said.
The test includes math, English, reading and science. Aakash Angirekula wrote an essay, as well.
Each section is scored on a scale of 1-36. A student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores, an Ector County ISD news release said. The score for ACT’s optional writing test is reported separately and is not included within the ACT composite score, the release stated.
To prepare, every weekend three or four months before the test, Aakash Angirekula took practice tests and scored them. He had taken the SAT last December, but didn’t do as well as he would have liked so he took the ACT in June.
Colleges accept both tests.
“Based off the questions I got wrong, those are the … areas I’d work on. When I started out, I was really weak on science, so I really tried to work hard on the science section. I did extra sections of science so that I could just really improve my skills in that area. For math, I’d already had a lot of experience from the SAT so I didn’t have to focus as hard on that. The same with English. I was pretty strong from the SAT already, so I really just had to focus on the science and a lot of repetition doing the test every week,” Aakash Angirekula said.
Currently, Aakash Angirekula said he’s undecided about where to go to college, but is leaning toward University of Texas at Austin.
“I think Austin is just a cool place to be,” he said.
He has an older brother, Aneesh, and an older sister, Askika. Mohana Angirekula said Aneesh is in residency right now at Baylor Scott & White Health in Temple and Askika is a third-year medical student at UT Southwestern.
Aakash said he’s leaning toward studying medicine right now.
Mohana Angirekula said all her children went to Reagan Elementary, Bowie Middle School and OHS. She added that the students cannot reach their goals without the teachers.
“So we’re grateful to the teachers and school district,” she said.
Along with teachers, Aakash Angirekula said he got support from family members who called and texted him. Learning remotely, he said, actually made it easier for him to prepare for the ACT because he was at home more.
Although he will be starting the year learning virtually, Aakash Angirekula said he is looking forward to his senior year. His mom said they are going to wait for six weeks to see how things go.
“I wish it could be like a normal year, but I’ll deal with whatever comes,” he said.
Aakash Angirekula is an International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate at OHS.
According to the ACT, less than one-half of 1 percent of all test takers earn the top score. Among U.S. high school graduates in the class of 2019, just 4,879 out of nearly 1.8 million students who took the ACT earned a composite score of 36, the release said.
Aakash was scheduled to take the ACT in April, but the exam was cancelled due to COVID-19.
It was rescheduled for June and that is when he took it and earned his perfect score. In December, Aakash scored a perfect 800 in the math portion of the SAT.
In a letter to Aakash recognizing his achievement, ACT CEO Marten Roorda stated, “Your achievement on the ACT is significant and rare. Your exceptional scores will provide any college or university with ample evidence of your readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead,” the release said.
Ruth Campbell covers education for the Odessa American. Reach her at 432-333-7765 or email@example.com