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Archive for Friday, August 18, 2006

Wichita teen gets perfect scores on ACT, SAT exams

August 18, 2006

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— A perfect score on the American College Testing exam is rare enough. Same goes for perfection on the SAT Reasoning Test.

Acing both?

No statistics are available on how many students manage that feat, but it's a safe bet that Bishop Carroll High School senior Jakub Voboril doesn't have a lot of company.

"Suffice it to say, it's a very, very small number," said Brian O'Reilly, a spokesman for the College Board, which administers the SAT.

Voboril, 17, learned last month that he had scored a 36 on his ACT, which he took in June. His perfect score, one of only two in Kansas on the June test, came after he scored 32 and 34 on his first two tries.

"Part of me said, 'That's good enough. You can stop there,"' he said. "But I decided to take it one more time to see what happened."

The perfect score came despite a bad night before the ACT.

"I get really nervous before tests," he said, "so I didn't sleep very well that night."

He took the SAT the same week. Those results - a perfect 2400 - came in shortly after Voboril got his ACT scores.

About 1.5 million students took the SAT last year, and fewer than 300 got perfect scores.

"It wasn't so much a feeling of, 'Wow, I'm shocked,' because I went in thinking I could do this," he said. "So it's just a good feeling. I'm really happy."

He had only one tip for those who would do well on the SAT: Go to the College Board's Web site and sign up for the "Official SAT Question of the Day."

"They send you one question every day, right to your inbox," he said. "So you get a feel for the types of questions, but you don't have to sit down for a couple hours and take a practice test."

Beyond that, he has no quick answer for how he did so well.

"It's weird, because before I took it, I checked out a couple books from the library. I expected there to be this big secret that all the smart people had that I just had to read.

"But I found out there's not a secret formula. Obviously, you have to pay attention in classes, take classes that are going to teach you what you need to know - that sort of thing."

Voboril participates in Science Olympiad, Scholars Bowl and debate at Bishop Carroll, where he has earned straight A's in advanced-placement classes. His mother, Pam, is a school nurse there, and his father, Bob, is superintendent of Catholic schools in Wichita.

His two older sisters, Millie and Katie, were valedictorians both at Carroll and at Benedictine College in Atchison.

"We don't ever say to them, 'We expect A's,"' Bob Voboril said. "The most important thing is not the grades they get, it's the kind of people they are. We truly believe that if you shape your kids to be good human beings, then they will naturally become good students."

The younger Voboril has not settled on a college or a major, but has considered math, philosophy and law - possibly at Notre Dame or Princeton.

And despite his perfect scores, he said he isn't counting on getting into his first choice.

"I've always had the impression that high test scores will help you very much, but you have to have more than that," he said. "Colleges want people who are going to be leaders and who are going to give back to their community. Fortunately, I've had plenty of opportunities to do things like that."

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