Seniors ace the ACT with perfect 36

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Laughing together, seniors Brooke Braman and Ian
Hierl rejoice as they discuss ACT prep methods. Photo by Roscoe Bradt

 

By Roscoe Bradt

The ACT is a standardized test for high school achievement and college admission in the United States. It gauges how much you know over a broad range of fields and is notorious for being difficult and stressful.
But that didn’t stop seniors Brooke Braman and Ian Hierl from bringing home perfect scores on the test. Do not be mistaken; this was no easy fete.
Braman put aside plenty of the time before the test to prepare.
“For the month leading up to the test I did one section of review every night,” Braman said.
Along with this schedule, she piled on eight practice tests and two private tutoring sessions with Jason Lichte, who teaches Latin at LHS.
Hierl had a much different strategy.
Besides two practice tests, Hierl went in blind.
“I didn’t study for it,” Hierl said. “I kind of just winged it.”
This year, Braman’s course load is heavy. She is taking Student Council, Government, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental

Laughing together, seniors Brooke Braman and Ian
Hierl rejoice as they discuss ACT prep methods. Photo by Roscoe Bradt

Science, Calculus (at the University of Kansas), Newspaper, Astronomy and Band. Meanwhile, Hierl keeps his schedule packed with AP Music Theory, AP Chemistry, Symphonic Orchestra along with two independent study classes and band. Hierl’s classes aren’t only at LHS; he takes German 401 and Math 590 up the hill at KU.

Both of these students have a stack of college applications either on their way or waiting to be sent to colleges such as Yale, Princeton and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Hierl and Braman had similar reactions to their scores: Disbelief.
“When I got it, I was really surprised,” Braman said. “At first, I thought it was a template for what your scores would look like.”
Hierl was on a similar track.
“I didn’t really believe it,” Hierl said. “I just kind of assumed my mom was wrong.”
It only really hit when a stranger had congratulated him for being on the news for his test scores.
“Then, it finally hit me,” Hierl said.
The two have received many congratulations for their scores, but have also heard things like, “You’re so lucky” and “That’s luck.” Although there were a few questions they were unsure about, they both find these comments discrediting.
“It’s not luck,” Braman said. “We worked really hard for it.”
Hierl agreed. He also finds the comments negative.
“It’s not like we randomly answered questions,” Hierl said. “We really tried.”
With hard work and tactful thinking, a lot can be accomplished.
“Taking the ACT is like playing a game. You have to know how the test makers think,” Braman said. “But like most things, with hard work and determination, it can be mastered.”
Sophomore Stefan Petrovic was impressed with the two seniors.
“We are lucky to have two brilliant students at our school,” Petrovic said. “You don’t just get a 36 on the ACT without intense study and determination. We should all be proud of their accomplishment.”