Alice Liu was participating in Marquette High science teacher Edward Bolton’s class via Zoom last Tuesday when her mother came into her room and said, “36!”
It took Liu a moment, but she quickly figured out what her mom meant.
“It felt wonderful to earn a 36 on the ACT!” said Liu, who is a freshman. “My friends, family, and teachers have all been super supportive and excited along with me. All of them were congratulating me and telling me how amazing of an achievement it was.”
It truly is an amazing achievement: of the nearly 1.7 million students in the Class of 2020 who took the ACT, only one-third of 1 percent earned a 36, the top composite score. The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading, and science, each scored on a scale of 1-36. A student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores.
It is an even more amazing achievement for a freshman. Liu took the ACT once before, in October, and earned a 35. Over the next two months, to prepare for the December test, she completed practice tests and went over answers with her brother, Lawrence, a junior at Marquette who also achieved a 36 on the ACT during his freshman year.
“I improved with my time management abilities and cumulative knowledge of grammar rules and math formulas and concepts,” Liu said. “It also helped that my language and science teachers taught me many new concepts this year.”
Liu said she doesn’t yet know what she’d like to study in college – she still has more than three years of high school left, after all – but she is interested in the sciences, especially chemistry.
In her free time, she enjoys playing the oboe, hiking, coding, and baking. In fact, she celebrated her ACT achievement with her family by baking a tarte tatin following a recipe she got from her French club.
“I appreciate my teachers and instructors so much. They manage to teach online students and teaching in-person students in one of the most stressful times in our lives,” Liu said. “Without their help, I couldn’t have done so well on the ACT.”