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MOOREVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) — A local high school senior earns a rare achievement with a perfect score on a college admissions test. As WCBI’s Allie Martin reports in this week’s edition of Making the Grade, the student has been preparing for years with the help of parents, teachers and counselors.

As his Christmas break was coming to an end, Will Pate received some exciting news.

“I found out at midnight the Sunday before I started school that I made a 36 on the ACT,” said Mooreville High School Senior Will Pate.

Before he was in high school, the 17 year old lifelong Mooreville resident had a goal of making a perfect score on the ACT. The straight A student is also a National Merit Semifinalist and is active in band. He took the test the first time his sophomore year, and made a 30. He made the same score his junior year and he formulated a gameplan to master the ACT.

“I decided I better do something to get it higher, I got the real ACT Prep Guide and worked through that and then made a 32 the next April. Then I signed up for a class at the Learning Skills Center in Tupelo , made a 34 that next fall, then took it again in October, made another 34, took it again one last time in December and made a 36,” Pate said.

Will also gives credit to his counselor and teachers, who aren’t surprised at the rare results.

“He’s one of the most motivated students I’ve had the privilege to teach. You have to put in the time and study for the test, , do those practice tests, not only the practice tests I believe Will, when he got his answers back from the practice test, he looked at the wrong answer versus the right answer and analyzed that information that was available to him,” Science Teacher Debbie Jones said.

“Will’s very, we’ve kind of teased about this since ninth grade, very organized , very on top of things, so I do hope that rubs off on some of the other students and his determination, like I said , to set a goal early on and continue to work for that goal, he could have very well been complacent with a 34, because that’s shoulders above but he continued to work on that goal he’d already set for himself,” said Counselor Casey Poole.

He has some advice for other students who want to do better than average on the ACT.

“I would encourage them to find out as much as they can about the actual test. So they know what they are getting into each time and how they can best complete all the questions themselves, they will know most of the curriculum from education in high school but they need to know how the test is set up and how to complete it in time they’re given,” he said.

Now that he’s reached his goal, Will plans to take a short break, then prepare for life as a college student at the University of Mississippi where he plans to major in music education.

Of the one point 6 million students who take the ACT every year, less than one tenth of one percent make a perfect score. That’s about 1500 students. In Mississippi, the average ACT score is 18 point 7.

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