No studying. No preparation. No problem.

In her first attempt — and without studying or preparing — Dahsong Lee answered every question correctly on the ACT, a nationally recognized college entrance exam.

“I was shocked,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

On average, less than one tenth of 1 percent of nearly two million high school students earn the top score of 36. The average 2017 ACT score for Idaho students is 22.3, compared to a national average of 21.

Dahsong only took the ACT on a whim, to see if she could do better than she did on the SAT, and she was nearly perfect on that college entrance exam, too. At least she studied for the SAT, she said, and scored a 1550 of a possible 1600.

Idaho students are required to take a college placement and most take the SAT because the state pays the cost so its free to all students.

Dahsong said the ACT exam was stressful partly because of the time limit. She had three hours and 35 minutes to complete the test and she used all but three minutes. She used her final seconds to make sure all the bubbles were filled in on the test document.

“It was scary and I felt rushed,” she said. “I walked away thinking I would have to retake it.”

Dahsong hopes her college entrance exam scores will help her gain acceptance into her dream schools of Vanderbilt University or Northwestern University. She plans to study engineering and would like to work for NASA someday.

“A perfect ACT score on any given test day is a surprising result because there are so many variables that come into play on a single test day,” said Laura Shoup, a statistics teacher, at Boise High School. “Dahsong’s perfect moment came from everything she does to reduce that variability — she deeply pursues interests across all academic disciplines and she loves to share her interests with others.”

Dahsong owns a 4.3 grade-point average and is enrolled in six advanced placement classes. She’s an Idaho Science and Aerospace Scholar and a member of the Boise High School band.

“I’m not perfect,” she said.

She has a passion for reading and knocks out about 20 books a month.

“I think it’s great to be a learner and experience new things through reading,” she said.

Fun facts about Dahsong Lee

  • Favorite drink? Lime La Croix
  • Favorite sport to watch? Tennis
  • You just got a free plane ticket to go anywhere. Where are you going? Anywhere in Europe
  • Three things you can’t live without? Phone, laptop and gel roller pen
  • Favorite emoji 

Andrew Reed

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