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A hard ACT to follow: East Ridge junior nails perfect test score

Leah Restad, a junior at East Ridge High School, scored a perfect 36 on her ACT. Submitted photo courtesy of Sara Restad

To hear her tell it, Leah Restad had a modest goal when she prepared to take the ACT test.

"I was just hoping that I would get a high enough score to not have to take the test again in the spring," she said.

The East Ridge High School junior earned a perfect score — 36 — on the standardized college readiness exam. District 833 juniors and seniors took the ACT last month.

One-tenth of 1 percent of test-takers achieve a perfect score, according to the ACT website.

The ACT consists of tests in English, math, reading and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, and a student's composite score is the average of the four test scores.

If the test itself was tough, waiting for the results was excruciating.

"The day I received my score was really stressful because it was the day the ACT site was having issues," Restad said. "I was able to see that I had gotten a 36 in English, math, and reading, but I couldn't see my science score. I spent the entire day just hoping that I got at least a 34 on science."

To prepare for the ACT, she took practice SAT tests.

"There is a lot of overlap between the tests, so I felt I could prepare myself by mainly studying for one," she said. "When I practiced, I always practiced with a timer, so that I could race my record times to finish sections of the test."

Restad plays trumpet in the East Ridge symphonic and marching bands and orchestra winds. She also plays percussion in the pit orchestra and belongs to the National Honor Society, Key Club, Math Team and PWER Book Club. She said she plans to study engineering in college, with a minor in music.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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