Derek Wong, a junior at La Salle Catholic College Preparatory, Milwaukie, OR, has earned the highest score possible on the PSAT/NMSQT that he took last fall.
“It was really surprising,” he said of his 1520 score. “I didn’t think I did particularly well.”
The test features 139 questions in evidence-based reading, writing and math. The test, part of the College Board’s SAT Suite of Assessments, measure students’ skill, knowledge, and readiness for college and work.
Wong’s score puts him in a select group of test takers.
According to the College Board, only 2 of the 16,703 SAT-takers in Oregon’s class of 2016 earned the highest possible score on that test. (The College Board doesn’t release how many students earn the highest possible score on the PSAT.)
“Earning the highest possible score on the PSAT/NMSQT is a significant achievement,” said Jane Dapkus, Vice President of College and Career Readiness Assessments at the College Board. “Further, the PSAT/NMSQT does more than just assess students’ readiness for college; it opens the door to scholarships, information from colleges, AP classes, and free practice for the SAT.”
Wong said he was driven to do well on the PSAT after scoring lower than a friend on a sample test.
“I see it as a competition,” he said. “It’s just who I am.”
Wong figured he’d score higher if he took more practice tests. So he completed a dozen more, becoming familiar with their format along the way.
“The thing about the PSAT is that the material isn’t difficult, but the way they phrase the answers and questions really catches people by surprise,” he said. “The only way you can be prepared is to take the practice test.”
Wong’s teachers at La Salle are not surprised at his performance on the PSAT. He’s taken several advanced classes, earning a weighted Grade Point Average of 4.19 along the way.
“Derek is one of the most academically gifted students I have ever worked with,” said La Salle counselor Seth Altshuler. “He is also kind-hearted and community oriented, which is why he has been such great fit for La Salle.”
Wong is not only competitive about academics; he also competes on for La Salle in tennis and chess as well as speech and debate.
Wong doesn’t know where he will attend college. But he does know what he wants to be: A doctor.
“I want to help people,” he said. “I feel like I can make the best use of my talents helping people overcome disease.”
Story contributed by Lisa Daniels, Director of Communications, La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.