April is Girls Sports Month, and as part of USA TODAY High School Sports’ fourth-annual Girls Sports Month celebration, we’re speaking with some of the top female high school players, influential athletes, coaches and celebrities in the sports world. We will also be highlighting some of the best stories from the past year and trailblazers in girls sports.
They say nobody’s perfect, but when it comes to the ACT college aptitude test, Audrey Beermann actually is.
The 17-year-old junior at Glendale Preparatory Academy (Ariz.) received a perfect 36 on the test, and she didn’t even study as hard for it as she’d hoped to because “life gets busy.”
The score is a composite of her results on each of the four parts of the test, and it’s a rare feat. Last year, fewer than 3,800 — only two-tenths of one percent — of the nearly two million students who took the test got a perfect score. The average score was 20.
Arizona statistics for last year were unavailable, but in 2016, only 24 Arizona students received perfect scores.
Lest you think Audrey, the daughter of a fourth-grade teacher and a banker, is just some kind of bookworm with no life, consider:
- She’s on her school’s soccer and cross-country teams.
- She ran a 200-mile Ragnar Relay as part of a 12-member team right before the test.
- She just performed in her school play, the Tom Stoppard classic Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, an absurdist play based on the lives of two Shakespeare characters.
- She works an average of 20 hours a week as a carhop at Sonic.
“There’s so much that goes on — so many interests I have, so many things I love to do,” she said. “I have so many interests; why not pursue them all?”
On the academic side, she admits to “geeking out on Aristotle” with her friends, and her class load consists of poetry, physics, calculus, ancient Greek, and humane letters, which she likens to a cross between English and history. It all translates into about two hours of homework a night.
Her intention was to spend an hour a day prepping for the test.
“That was the plan, but it didn’t happen,” she said.
Instead, she wound up taking a couple of practice tests at school and spent a couple of hours on a couple of Saturdays before the main event in February.
“It got me familiar with the format,” Beermann said. “If you understand the logic (of the test) and understand how they’re going to trick you, you’re OK.”
After she finished, she didn’t think she’d done that well. She said that she told her mom, “It looks like I’ll be taking it again.”
She was concerned because she ran out of time on one portion of the test, the reading section. She had only five minutes, so she skimmed the passage and guessed at the answers that made the most sense. She only got a 35 (only!) on that section. But considering that she got perfect scores on the rest of the sections, it wasn’t enough to lower her composite score.
She said that not many classmates knew about her achievement. But as word trickled out, she’s gotten a lot of support and enthusiasm from her peers, who she said have “such a diversity of knowledge and talent,” whether its in music, sports or academics.
“Everyone is smart in their own ways. My way just came across on the ACT,” she said.
Her perfect score will surely pique the interests of the nation’s best universities, but Audrey isn’t saying which way she’s leaning.
“I’m still checking out everything. College is in the plans, maybe medical school, but I’m not going to finalize anything because my mind changes every week,” she said, adding, “Wherever I end up, I’ll be happy because what college is in its essence is pleasing to me.”
Ideally she’d like to go somewhere out of state, but it’s not paramount.
“I love to hike and go out on trail runs, so anywhere beautiful would be amazing,” she said.