According to the College Board, the odds that a student will open the mail and find they have earned the top score of 2400 on the SAT are 1 in 5,152. If that doesn’t sound too rare, consider that roughly 500 students take the exam each year, meaning that a perfect score would be roughly a once in a decade experience.
Well, ‘once in a decade,’ has arrived, as Upper Dublin’s Kevin Li recently scored a perfect 2400 on the nation’s most well known test, adding it to a list of impressive accomplishments.
“I was pleasantly surprised with my score,” said Li, who was taking the exam for the first and only time. “After I took the test I couldn’t think of too many errors that I had made, but there is always room for mistakes.”
Jennifer Hopkins, Li’s school guidance counselor, said that while many intelligent students walk the halls of Upper Dublin, Li’s accomplishment does stand out.
“It is certainly rare that a student gets a perfect score,” said Hopkins. “We have some very bright students here at Upper Dublin High School, but even so it is very rare.”
Hopkins said the most challenging part for students who take the SAT is the pressure that continues to build around the exam.
“Life in general is so much more challenging now than ever before,” said Hopkins. “There are many more expectations and preparing for the SAT is one of those expectations. Students begin prepping for the SAT and ACT tests in 9th or 10th grade now, since it is so competitive to get into college.”
Li said he enjoys taking tests and that he did not find the SAT to be overwhelmingly difficult.
“It was not too bad,” said Li. “One of the things that I think helped me is that I enjoy solving problems, like solving a puzzle and the use of logic. I found the test to be predictable and enjoyable as strange as that sounds.”
In addition to being a stellar student, Li is also an active member of the Upper Dublin High School student body and serves as president of the National Honor Society, co-editor of the school paper, senior editor of the school literary magazine and president of the math club. He is also an accomplished piano player and has competed on a national and international level.
Li has also used his piano talent to help raise money for a cause he is passionate about – children with terminal illness.
“About six or seven years ago I learned about a national organization called Hope for Henry that raises money for severely ill children who cannot live normal lives,” said Li. “Since then, I have held piano recitals to raise money for this organization. I have been able to have friends join me and even my teacher who is an opera singer. The concerts have been very well attended and we have helped to raise a lot of money for the organization.”
Hopkins said scoring a perfect SAT is very difficult.
“The SAT prep courses alone will not help student achieve a better SAT score,” said Hopkins. “Students must take college preparatory courses and apply themselves in these courses, they should also read extensively. Upper Dublin High School offers an array of SAT and ACT courses in the curriculum and at a reduced cost in the evening so that all students have access to prep courses.”
And Li’s advice to those preparing for the SAT test?
“I think the key is to just realize it is a tiny part of the application to college. Don’t come to the table with a negative preconception of the SAT, go into it thinking ‘I can do my best’ and enjoy it and you will come out with better results than expected.”