Meet An Nguyen, the Houston Independent School District student who earned perfect scores on the School Day SAT, the ACT, and the 11 Advanced Placement (AP) exams she has taken throughout high school. Nguyen is now part of an elite, high academic profile club.
According to the CollegeBoard, 1.7 million students took the SAT in 2017, with a mean score of 1060. In Texas, 204,409 students took the SAT, with a mean score of 1020.
The SAT and ACT are both college entrance exams, assessing skills in reading, math, and writing.
Increasing access to college entrance exams is a key focus for HISD— all high school juniors take the SAT for free at their home campus during regular school hours. Houston ISD also offers the PSAT to students in grades 8-11 for free. HISD is dedicated to preparing students test college-ready in math and reading before graduation.
In addition, all students receive free access to Khan Academy Official SAT Practice, an online platform that builds skills in reading, math, and writing. SAT participation has nearly doubled as a result of the measures.
“High school academics vary, but college entrance exams give schools a more objective measure of your ability, Nguyen said. “That’s why they are so important.”
Rather than buying expensive guide books or spending hours studying, Nguyen said she simply relied on Khan Academy, as well as the time management tactics she learned while studying for the ACT. Upon graduation, Nguyen plans to study applied mathematics at Caltech, Stanford, MIT, or Rice.
“Figure out how you best study, and how best you take exams. By the time you take the School Day SAT, you will have taken the PSAT four times,” she said. “Learn from each exam, use what you know, and make adjustments accordingly.”