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'I jumped up and everyone went crazy,' Stillwater sophomore makes perfect ACT score

STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – A Stillwater High School student and his family are celebrating after he earned a perfect ACT Score of 36. To add more to the bewilderment, he is only a sophomore.

“When it came out, I just like, was so excited. I jumped up and everyone went crazy,” said Alex Kim.

The 16-year-old was sitting between his parents, who were beaming with pride. Getting a perfect ACT Score takes months of hard work and determination.

“It was almost like a summer project. Each day, I tried to do a few problems, to get familiar with the test. After that, it really started kicking in,” said Kim. “One test is around like 3 hours. So, some days that I had some more time, I’d do like one whole practice test then review the material.”

Kim likes to stay busy. He squeezed in extra study time between orchestra, mock trial, quiz bowl, varsity tennis and swimming.

In October, a new report found that ACT scores are at their lowest point in more than 30 years, after COVID-19 disrupted learning in the classroom. Kim says that just pushed him harder.

“Like my goal, when the pandemic started, was not to fall behind. So, I feel like I really used that time to progress rather than fall back,” said Kim.

Kim said he found out about his score, while constantly checking his email during his AP Biology class.

“At first, it was disbelief. Because, I mean obviously I went into that test feeling confident, but never would I have truly expected such an amazing score,” said Kim.

Then, Kim said, he ran into the halls to call his mom.

“He said like, ‘Oh mom! I got a perfect score!’ But I said like, ‘Oh, but aren’t you in school? Can you call? You should go back to class!’” said his mother, Hwahyun Lee, while laughing.  “But I was super happy and I was proud of him.”

“It was amazing and I’m really proud of him,” said his father, Dr. Yoo Kim.

Now, Kim says, he has a reputation to uphold.

“Now that I’ve done this, I got to keep working. You know, I can’t slack off,” said Kim.

The ambitious teen said this is just one step in his plan. If everything goes just right, he’ll have his pick of what college to attend. Right now, he wants to major in economics, political science, or international affairs.

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