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Meet the Bettendorf student who earned a top score on the ACT

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 1:35 PM CDT
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BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - The average score for the ACT standardized test nationwide are between 19.9 and 20.6 out of a possible 36.

A Bettendorf High School junior is celebrating after earning the highest score possible of 36.

The ACT is one of the standardized tests used for college admissions.

Max Rantilla is an active member of the Bettendorf High School band.

“I play the euphonium, or baritone. It is a tuba shrunk to the sound, pitch of a trombone,” said Rantilla.

In addition to being in band, Rantilla is an active member of the speech and debate team, an environmental group and is even the president-elect of the Bettendorf High School National Honor society.

Between the extra curricular activities and regular school work, Rantilla found time to study hard for the ACT.

“I believe that studying is a very personal process. I think that if you use the standardized studying system, read the books, fill it out, sometimes it’ll work for you, but for some people, that’s just not how you learn,” said Rantilla.

Rantilla spent about 20 hours of the course of three weeks studying for the test.

The standardize test is scored on the average of four tests in English, Math, Reading and Science.

Rantilla admits it wasn’t a true perfect score.

“During test two, I had some spare time so I went back to the questions and reviewed them. And i looked at that one and I was really trying to figure out what it was, and then time rang. And then like halfway through test three i was like, ‘no way, that should have been the other answer!’ so I was kinda kicking myself for that a little bit, but as it turned out it was fine,” said Rantilla.

As for the questions he got wrong?

“The first one was math, which is kind of a hit to my pride because math is my biggest subject, it’s my favorite one. The other one was science. I wanna just blame misreading the question, but that’s not true,” said Rantilla.

Max’s mom was excited when she first heard the news about her son’s score.

“I literally screamed. Actually, what I first did is was I went to checked on what the score meant. And then I thought ‘oh my goodness, this is a really great opportunity for him.’ So yeah. I was really excited and I kinda just screamed and I think I just started texting everybody,” said Debra Rantilla.

Less than one half of one percent of ACT test takers achieve a top score of 36.

With that top score, Rantilla’s options for college are wide open.

“I’m looking at like Stanford. I’m looking at like Harvard and Yale. You know. Sights set very high. I’m not going all in on that, you know. I’m still going to have Iowa on my list,” said Max Rantilla.

After attending the college of his choice, Rantilla plans to pursue a career in a STEM-related field, geared toward math or Science.

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