Student Spotlight: Rishav Aikat

Rishav Aikat

Rishav Aikat is a 2016 graduate of Model Laboratory School. He is currently studying at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. As of the 2015-2016 school year, McGill is ranked among the world’s top 30 institutions and is the number 1 major/research university in Canada for the 12th consecutive year. To say that this is a great achievement is an understatement.

However, Rishav didn’t make it to McGill out of luck. Rishav worked hard and studied harder to get where he is now. Rishav finished high school as a National Merit Finalist with an ACT score of 34. He also participated in two sports—soccer and track—and numerous clubs. Somehow, he still found the time to participate in tutoring and devote 3-5 hours per week studying for the ACT.

During his high school years, Rishav understood the importance of test scores and took both the ACT and SAT multiple times. He also took 1 practice test each week at home. In conjunction, Rishav utilized tutoring services and studied from test prep work books—his favorite is Barron’s.

Rishav identified several key factors in setting yourself up for success when it comes to standardized test prep. He found that you need to be in the correct mindset to study and retain information. You also need to believe in yourself and your capabilities. Lastly, he knows that a great support system is helpful in any situation, but particularly helpful when it comes to test prep, which isn’t always the most interesting of subjects.

Rishav leaves important advice for students. “Start early,” he says. It’s important to know where you start so you know where you need to be and what you need to do to get yourself there. Time management is key. Find the best balance between school work, extracurricular activities, study time, and personal time. “You will plateau,” says Rishav. If you reach that plateau, study extra hard, put in more time than normal and you will get past it. One thing Rishav says he wishes he knew before high school is how important standardized testing would be. He wants all students to be made aware of the importance of the ACT/SAT and how much that one test score could ultimately impact the rest of your life.

For Rishav, his test scores had a huge impact. Along with being recognized as a National Merit Finalist, which granted him a $2,500 scholarship, he was awarded a university scholarship from McGill University. He was also awarded a Key Club scholarship of $500.

Although it sounds cliché, Rishav’s advice is spot on. Start early, study hard, believe in yourself, study harder. These tests are the first step to the rest of your life.


Rishav Aikat

Model Laboratory School

Graduating Class of 2016

Test Prep

ACT Test Release Info

Get a Copy of Your ACT Test Questions and Answers!

If you order and pay $20.00 for a Test Information Release (TIR) during the registration process and test at a national test center on a national test date that offers this service, you will receive a copy of the multiple-choice test questions used to determine your score, a list of your answers, and the answer key. (If you took the writing test, you will also receive a copy of the writing prompt, the scoring rubric, and the scores assigned to your essay by two readers.) Information about ordering a photocopy of your answer document (including your essay if you took the writing test) for an additional fee will be included with your materials. We highly recommend getting a copy of your ACT test questions and answers when it is offered.

Which Test Dates Offer this Service?

2015–2016 Saturday National Testing

If you took the ACT test at a national test center on one of the national test dates listed below, you can order a Test Information Release (TIR) when you register, or during the three-month period after your test date. This service is not offered on any other test dates or for any non-national administrations (e.g., International, Special).

  • Saturday, December 12, 2015
  • Saturday, April 9, 2016
  • Saturday, June 11, 2016

When & How Can You Order It?

If you would like to order a Test Information Release during the three-month period after your test date, you should use the Test Information Release Order Form.
Your request must be postmarked no later than three months after the test date. Materials are normally mailed about four weeks after you receive your score report. You cannot expect to receive them before the registration deadline or in time to study for the next test date.
All orders received after score reports are first issued will be mailed three to five weeks after receipt at ACT.

Test Information Release Form

Math Puzzle

Challenge: Can you get all 4 across in under 15 minutes?

bridge & torch problem

Four people come to a river in the night. There is a narrow bridge, but it can only hold two people at a time. They have one torch and, because it’s night, the torch has to be used when crossing the bridge. Person A can cross the bridge in one minute, B in two minutes, C in five minutes, and D in eight minutes. When two people cross the bridge together, they must move at the slower person’s pace.

The question is, can they all get across the bridge in 15 minutes or less?

Check out the full story on the bridge and lantern problem here!

Test Prep

ACT Writing Enhanced


Starting in September 2015, ACT will introduce a number of enhancements to the ACT writing test. Key differences between the former and the enhanced designs are outlined below.

To download a writing scoring rubric to see what the new guidelines are.

View a sample writing prompt to see a representative of the prompts that will be used for the ACT writing test.

Writing Prompt

Many elements of the writing prompts will remain the same. For example, the test is still an exercise in argumentative writing, and it continues to measure core competencies that are linked to college and career success.

Modifications to the writing prompt will build on the former design in a few important ways:

Design Modifications Former Design
(Through the June 2015 Test Event)
Enhanced Design
(Beginning in the September 2015 Test Events)
A broader range of engaging subject matter Presents controversies around school-themed issues Presents conversations around contemporary issues
Prompt offers different points of access to the issue Gives positions for/against the issue Offers three diverse perspectives that encourage critical engagement with the issue
Writing task more clearly resembles real-world argumentation Asks students to take a position on the issue Asks students to develop an argument that puts their own perspective in dialogue with others
More structure for planning and more time for composing 30 minutes to plan and compose

Blank space for planning

40 minutes to plan and compose

Guidance and structure for planning and prewriting

Writing Scores

Scoring and reporting for the ACT writing test have also been updated. Instead of one holistic score, students will receive four domain scores, each reflecting a key dimension of writing competency. They will also receive a subject-level Writing Score and an English Language Arts (ELA) Score on the familiar 1–36 scale. This allows for precise evaluation of student writing and a more detailed score report.

Former ACT Writing Scores
(Through the June 2015 Test Event)
Holistic Writing Score 2–12
Combined English/Writing Score 1–36


New ACT Writing Scores
(Beginning in the September 2015 Test Events)
Subject-Level Writing Score 1–36
Individual Domain Scores
Ideas and Analysis 2–12
Development and Support 2–12
Organization 2–12
Language Use and Conventions 2–12
ELA score (an average of the English, reading and writing tests) 1–36
For more information concerning the Writing test of the ACT, please visit their website here.