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PMHS’s Benson achieves perfect ACT score

PMHS’s Benson achieves perfect ACT score
Posted on 04/09/2019
This is the image for the news article titled PMHS’s Benson achieves perfect ACT scoreBy: Jade Wise
Pasadena ISD Communications



Carly Benson, a junior at Pasadena Memorial High School, earned the highest possible score of 36 on the ACT test, just a few weeks after only missing one question on the SAT test.

With only around two-tenths of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earning a top score, Benson joins a prestigious group of students. According to the ACT organization, in the U.S. high school graduating class of 2018, only 3,741 out of more than 1.9 million graduates who took the ACT earned a top composite score of 36.

I’m very excited about it,” said Benson. “I feel that it’s a culmination of all my hard work paying off. Even before I started preparing for the ACT, I’ve been working very hard in school and this was just validation for me.”

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science, each scored on a scale of 1–36. A student's composite score is the average of the four test scores. The score for ACT’s optional writing test is reported separately and is not included within the ACT composite score. 

Benson estimates that she studied for the test for approximately 15-20 hours in preparation for the test. 

“Going into the test, I was a little nervous but I also felt calm because I knew that I had prepared and was just focused on doing my best,” said Benson. “I definitely exceeded my expectations.”

Benson said that in her practice tests, she came across a math question that she had not yet learned in class, so she approached Lana Finnen, her Pre-AP pre-calculus teacher, for help.

“Carly is a fabulous young lady who is naturally very intelligent and has an amazing work ethic,” said Finnen. “The question she asked me about was actually something we were going to work on the week following her testing date. I printed her off some reference sheets and gave her a quick crash-course so she could understand the concepts and fundamentals to be prepared.”

Benson said that she is appreciative of teachers at the school, like Finnen, who go the extra mile to help students be successful.

“I feel that Pasadena Memorial has given me a lot of opportunities to be successful with things like offering the SAT test on campus and having teachers that are willing to go above and beyond to help – even though they don’t have to.”

Just a junior, Benson has not made a decision on her college destination yet, but she will likely have many open doors as ACT scores are accepted by all major four-year colleges and universities across the United States.

ACT’s CEO Marten Roorda stated to Benson in a letter recognizing her exceptional achievement, “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.”



Carly Benson
PMHS's Carly Benson joins a prestigious group of students who have made a perfect score on the ACT test.