by Dennis Dalman
For 3.5 hours, Yash Hindka demonstrated grace-under-pressure as the test asked him question after question.
“I was nervous,” he acknowledged later.
But despite the jitters, he had an innate sense of confidence.
His grace-under-pressure, reinforced by his all-around intelligence, paid off, resulting in a perfect score on the American College Testing test – a solid composite score of 36. Now Hindka is in an honored group, among only 2,760 high-school students of the more than two million students who take the ACT annually. In other words, he is among one-tenth of one percent of students who achieve perfect scores on the test. The ACT is comprised of four categories: English, math, reading, science. Each is scored from 0-36. A student’s composite score is the average of the scores on all four categories.
Last September, Hindka took the ACT and scored 35, one point less than perfect. He determined to take it again and first did four or five practice tests. His persistence, obviously, paid off.
On the night of Dec. 20, Hindka knew the test results would be available online shortly after midnight. He intended to stay awake to find out how he’d done, but he fell asleep and didn’t see the good news until 3 a.m.
“I was very excited to learn the news,” he told the Sartell-St. Stephen Newsleader. “It was too early in the morning to wake up my parents, so I waited to tell them, and they were excited and proud of me.”
The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement exam that measures what students have learned in school. Students who earn a 36 composite score have likely mastered all of the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in first-year college courses in the core subject areas. ACT scores are accepted by all major four-year colleges and universities across the United States.
Hindka, a senior at Sartell High School, is the son of Chanchal and Dinesh Hindka. In early December he took the test at this year’s testing site – St. Cloud’s Tech High School.
In a letter to Hindka, ACT Chief Executive Officer Marten Roorda wrote the following:
“Your achievement in the ACT is significant and rare. While test scores are just one of multiple criteria most colleges consider when making admission decisions, your exceptional ACT composite score should prove helpful as you pursue your education and career goals.”
Sartell High School Principal Brenda Steve also praised Hindka.
“Yash is a hard-working and talented student, and I am extremely proud of his accomplishment,” she said.
Hindka is now the second Sartell High School student to receive a perfect 36 on the ACT. In 2014, that honor was achieved by Gopi Ramanathan, who happens to be a friend of Hindka.
Not sure of which college he will attend, Hindka said he will probably study aerospace engineering. His favorite school subjects are math and science, but he also enjoys Knowledge Bowl, Math League, tennis and playing classical piano.
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.