Gugnani Earns a Perfect ACT Score

Shekhar Gugnani. Submitted photo.

A Fort Scott High School senior has scored a perfect score of 36 on the American College Test.  The test is a standardized one used for college admissions in the United States.

Shekhar Gugnani, 18,  took the ACT  in February of 2021.

“Shekhar is the first student in Fort Scott High School history to achieve a perfect score of 36 on the ACT,” Fort Scott High SchoolJr. and Sr. Counselor Josh Messer said. “He has also taken one of the most rigorous course loads possible while in high school.  He has taken numerous classes through Fort Scott Community College during his high school career.”

“Shekhar is also a National Merit Scholarship Finalist, Messer said.  “This distinction is based on his scores on the PSAT test he took as a Junior.  To be a finalist, he is in the top 7,500 of students to take the test in the nation.  He will find out if he is a National Merit Scholarship recipient later this month.”

He is the son of Sonia and Dr. P.K. Gugnani.

The following is from a interview with Gugnani:

What did you do to prepare for the ACT?

“It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I started taking a lot of practice tests, focusing more on evaluating my weaknesses and trying to increase my score. After taking a practice test, I would sit down, look at what I missed, and then try to learn the concepts so I wouldn’t miss a similar question. It took a lot of rigorous training and holding myself accountable for every mistake, but in the end, it was all worth it.”

Did you take it more than once?

“Yeah. The first time I took it in high school was as a junior in October 2020, and I scored a 34. I retook the test in February of the following year (2021) because the test was free for all juniors. That was the test that I scored a perfect 36 on.”

What are your future plans?

“I’m still weighing my options on what college I plan to attend, but I know that I want to pursue a career as a doctor. I hope to one day gain admission into medical school, complete residency, and settle down to practice medicine.”

Are there people who have helped you attain this honor?

“Absolutely. I would say my primary influences were definitely my parents since they always pushed me to be the best version of myself. They motivated me to take practice tests, and sometimes they even helped me find my errors or come up with strategies to pace myself on the test (since it is timed). My teachers were also really influential, specifically my previous AP Calculus teacher, Jeff Armstrong. He was always willing to lend a hand wherever he could, and a lot of his trigonometry lessons helped greatly on the exam. I’d also like to thank my brothers, Neil and Raj, as well as my close friends, for always providing moral support throughout all of my endeavors.”

When will you find out about the National Merit Scholarship?

“I was already named one of 15,000 finalists in the program in February; starting this month, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation will designate about half of those people as scholarship winners, receiving $2,500 each. Being a finalist, some colleges will offer their own scholarships just for attaining this status.”

What will that mean to you?

“Regardless of the scholarship, being a finalist is a huge honor to me. It not only solidifies my name in this exemplary academic program, but it gives me a sense of accomplishment, knowing that my hard work has paid off. I came from a small but mighty town, and together with those around me, I was able to rise up and achieve national recognition.”

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