Education

Modesto High senior scores perfect 2400 on SAT

Perfect SAT Score: How Modesto High Senior Did It

International Baccalaureate student Waleed Khan got a perfect score of 2400 on the SAT, something only 0.03 percent of college bound students manage. He shares what works do for him. (Nan Austin/naustin@modbee.com)
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International Baccalaureate student Waleed Khan got a perfect score of 2400 on the SAT, something only 0.03 percent of college bound students manage. He shares what works do for him. (Nan Austin/naustin@modbee.com)

A senior in the International Baccalaureate program at Modesto High has posted a perfect score of 2400.

Here’s his secret: practice.

“It’s how much you prepare,” said Waleed Khan. “It is just practice. You start to see the patterns, the little mind tricks. You get quicker.”

The senior, who hopes to become a doctor, spent about an hour a day during the week, three hours on weekends, studying and taking practice tests before his November exam date.

“I get distracted easily. I locked myself in my room and I would just go until the end,” he said Tuesday. The lock was partly to force himself to keep his focus, partly to keep away the distractions of four younger siblings and enticing calls to play Legos.

504The number out of 1,698,521 students in the class of 2015 who took the SAT to get a perfect score

The November test was his third stab at the SAT, besting a previous score of 2240 – an impressive mark in its own right. The SAT benchmark showing college readiness is 1550. But among his top colleges, Khan is looking at Stanford.

“At Stanford, 25 percent (of students) have a 2400 – I checked,” he said. With encouragement from his parents – both doctors – Khan decided to try again.

The senior wedged in study time between Mock Trial practice, Key Club community service projects, volunteering at a local hospital, speech and debate meets, Project Hope fundraising to build a school in Africa, PHAST anti-tobacco projects, cross country and track runs.

“I try and do a bit of everything,” he summed up.

He may be the first Modesto teen to take top marks on the SAT pre-college exam. At Enochs High, Kane Wu got a perfect score earlier this year on the rival ACT pre-college test.

It is just practice. You start to see the patterns, the little mind tricks. You get quicker.

Waleed Khan, Modesto High senior

“As far as we know, (Khan) is the first. We can’t recall it ever happening before,” said Modesto High college counselor Katy Cardoza.

Only 504 students nationwide out of 1.7 million test-takers from the class of 2015 scored 2400, a College Board spokesman said Wednesday via email. The nonprofit College Board administers the SAT test.

That puts Khan in the top 0.03 percent.

Whether or not Khan is the first Modesto student to get a 2400, he will almost certainly be the last. Beginning next year, the SAT shifts to a new format requiring more writing and a top score of 1600.

Nan Austin: 209-578-2339, @NanAustin

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