The Student News Source of Sparkman High School
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Photo Credit: Tina Reid

Senior Caleb Etheride poses for a publicity photo with principal, Chris Shaw.

Senior Scores Perfect 36

October 21, 2021

CC: How many times have you taken it before receiving a 36? How did your past scores compare?
Senior Caleb Etheridge: It was not my first time to take it. I had taken it four times previously. My first time taking it was in 7th grade and I made a 25, then I took it in 9th grade and scored a 31, then got two 35s before I got the 36.

CC: What were your scores for every subject? Did they correlate to their difficulty?
Caleb Etheridge: Math-36, Reading-36, English-35, Science-35; I actually thought that the reading was more difficult than the English but due to their scoring template for that test I ended up scoring higher in reading.
Describe your thoughts and feelings when you found out you got a 36 and when you found out you were a National Merit Finalist.

CC: Describe your family’s and friends’ reactions.
Caleb Etheridge: I was very happy when I found out that I made a 36 mainly because it meant that I didn’t have to take it again. I was also glad because it opens up additional scholarships that I will have access to. When I found out I was a semifinalist, I was glad because I knew that I only had one shot to qualify for the NMSC scholarship and that I had done it successfully. My family was ecstatic and very excited, and they insisted that it was cause for celebration.

CC: What measures did you take to prepare for the ACT? How much time and effort did you dedicate to preparing?
Caleb Etheridge: I took a lot of short practice tests that were on crackact.com. I took them when I had free time in school so I probably spent about 3 hours practicing.

CC: Who/what exactly would you accredit your score to?
Caleb Etheridge: I have been very blessed by God and encouraged by my parents and teachers. This was what caused me to pursue the goal of a 36.
Were you confident in your ability to make a 36?
Why or why not?

I was fairly confident because I knew that on the previous times that I took it and got a 35, I made a few simple mistakes that should not have been made, so I knew that I definitely had the capability to make a 36.

What does getting a 36 and being a National Merit Finalistmean to you? How does it feel to be representing Sparkman?
It means a lot to me because it means cheaper college and it means the completion of a long term goal that I had for years. I am proud to be representing Sparkman.

Do you think ACT scores and GPA are an accurate representation of a student’s capabilities? Why or why not?
I think they are definitely accurate (in the loosest sense of the word) although obviously not perfect. Personally, my ACT score accurately reflects my school grades. I believe that no number could ever perfectly represent a student’s capability but generally the better a student’s GPA and ACT, the better they will do in college.

CC: What colleges, majors, and occupations are you interested in? How does your score and finalist placement affect your choices/plans?
Caleb Etheridge: I am planning on either going to Auburn or UAH, and I am going to major in physics to become a physicist. The benefits will be the deciding factor between colleges if I feel that they are similar in their educational value.

CC: Do you have any advice for anyone to improve their ACT scores or test taking skills?
Caleb Etheridge: My advice for someone who wants to improve their score is to go to crackact.com and take a bunch of the short practice tests there. Time yourself and make sure that you take the same amount of time that you would have on the actual test. Also, make sure to mainly practice the subjects that you are worst at, not the one that you are best at. If you do this, there is a very high likelihood that you will improve your score.

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