LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — According to a release from Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock, a high school senior earned the highest possible ACT composite score of 36.

Isabella "Bella" Boyd said she woke up unexpectedly during the evening the scores were scheduled to be released. 

“I had woken up in the middle of the night and decided I would check the scores while I was awake,” she said. “I was very tired, but obviously thrilled.”

This was the second time Boyd had taken the ACT. She earned a 34 on her first attempt, but wanted to improve her score even more, so she took it again.

"Thank goodness I did," she said.

Less than 1% of students who take the ACT earn a top score. Only 4,879 out of nearly 1.8 million U.S. seniors earned a perfect score in 2019.

Boyd received a letter from ACT CEO Marten Roorda that 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."

Boyd plans to study mechanical or material engineering in college and has already applied to several schools, including Boston University, Duke University, Lehigh University, and Washington University in St. Louis.

The advice she offers to others taking the ACT is to prepare and trust your gut.

"Take a few practice tests beforehand and use process of elimination when picking your answers," Boyd said. "Also, your first guess is usually correct, so don't second-guess yourself."

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