Deerfield student achieves ACT, AP exam perfection
Stevenson High School junior Iryna Protasova, a Deerfield resident, scored a perfect 36 on her ACT.
Updated: February 4, 2013 6:16AM
Scoring a perfect 36 on the ACT exam is quite rare.
Pairing a perfect ACT exam with a perfect score on a computer science Advanced Placement exam in the same year is even more rare.
Stevenson High School junior Iryna Protasova, a Deerfield resident, recently did just that. After taking the AP exam in May, she said she learned her test results in August. It wasn’t until December, however, when she learned it was a perfect score.
“I didn’t think (the AP exam) was too difficult,” Protasova said. “The computer science exam was probably the one I was least concerned about, out of the three (exams) I took, (which were) physics and European History.”
Protasova was one of only 18 students in the world to earn every possible point on the AP computer science exam, according to Stevenson’s website which attributed the College Board.
Protasova said her interest in computer science started when she was in middle school, and that she likes the idea of programming and writing code.
“It’s really nice to have some practical knowledge,” Protasova said.
As far a stressing over the exam, Protasova said she took a more relaxed approach to test preparation.
“Mostly, I went over my notes to get the right mind-set, and then just tried to relax,” Protasova said.
At the end of the day, though, Protasova pointed out that good test-taking skills don’t necessarily constitute a “good student.”
“All it proves is that I’m good at taking tests,” Protasova said. “I’d rather be judged by the qualities I can bring to (any) college. I wouldn’t be happy if intelligent, hard-working, creative students are rejected because they aren’t good at taking tests.”
Robert Gammelgard, who was Protasova’s computer programming teacher last school year, said he wasn’t too surprised that Protasova had done so well on the AP exam.
“I expected her to do well, but the exam is difficult,” Gammelgard said. “Besides the multiple choice questions, there are four problems that require writing out code by hand. It’s very easy to make a minor mistake.”
Gammelgard said that Protasova isn’t a student who simply looks for an answer; she seeks out the concepts for greater understanding.
“She is very intelligent and eager to learn more,” Gammelgard said. “When she was working on projects, you could tell that she took pride in her work.”
Protasova said she has her eye out for a rigorous liberal arts colleges.
“I hope to go to a four-year college and major in chemistry, hopefully getting some research in before I graduate,” Protasova said.
Kenyon College in Ohio, she added, has piqued her interest the most.
Protasova said her ultimate goal is to earn a doctorate and teach on the college level.