Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Perfect SAT X 2

Memorial High School juniors Rajat Mehndiratta and George Chen joined a rarified test-taking club this school year: The two classmates earned the top possible scores on the SAT college assessment exam. Each year, about 1.7 million students nationwide take the SAT.

Only a small fraction of them, less than a fifth of 1 percent, receive a “perfect” score of 2350 to 2400. For several years now, the SAT has tested students in reading, writing and math, with a top score of 800 in each section. Students can miss a couple of questions overall under the new administration of this test and still obtain a “perfect” score.

Rajat Mehndiratta took the October 2012 administration of the SAT. When his top score appeared online several weeks later, Rajat did not believe what he was seeing at first. “I thought that it must be displaying default values, not my scores. I did not realize it was real at first,” he says.

That quickly changed. By the end of that day, he had joyously informed family, friends and Memorial High teachers. Now, a half year later, Rajat is weighing Harvard and Stanford universities as his next options, as well as CalTech, or the California Institute of Technology, and the University of Pennsylvania.

His top fields of interest currently include electrical engineering, business and biomedical engineering. His perfect score on the SAT is a world away from seventh grade when Rajat says that he did not do as well on the Duke University Talent Identification Program assessment that is given to middle school students to identify gifted and talented individuals.

His family came to Spring Branch from California in his early teens. He attended Memorial Middle School. He studied for the SAT while in India last summer, taking a test-preparation course that lasted four hours a day for up to three days a week. He views his amazing score as a sign of doing well on one test on one particular day, not a measure of top intelligence or genius.

“This does not make me more intelligent than anybody else,” he says. “But at the end of the day, the SAT does measure the work that a person puts into preparation and how hard a person tries to do well. I do owe a lot to everybody else – my parents helped me, and the teachers at Memorial High deserve a big thank you for this recognition, too.”

At Memorial, Rajat has been a member of the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Team. His interest in current events includes reading magazines like “Foreign Policy” and “The Week.” Advanced Placement History was his favorite class this year. Rajat is open to the future, seeking challenges. He wants “to try things that are difficult. I like to do the kinds of things that require me to keep trying.”

George Chen took the January 2013 administration of the SAT. He is interested in applied science, specifically computer science and its related fields, biomedical engineering, and medicine.

From a college standpoint, George is currently undecided, but he is considering Stanford University, the University of Chicago, Caltech, and Princeton and Cornell universities, all of which are home to many of the nation’s top students and professors.

Like Rajat, he entered SBISD as a Memorial Middle School student. A huge fan of Memorial High’s chemistry program, George plans to do summer chemical research as part of the Welch Summer Scholar Program. George is active both as a speech/debate policy debater and as an oboist, pianist and percussionist.

In his free time, he enjoys rounds of table tennis with the table tennis club. On his own time, George likes to follow developments in Silicon Valley, philosophy, and new scientific breakthroughs.

SAT Facts at a Glance:
  • The mean score for all students on the SAT was 1498 last year.
  • Only 4 percent of all students scored from 2100 to 2400 on the SAT.
  • The SAT ranks behind two other factors in college admissions: grades in college-prep courses and strength of a school’s curriculum
  • Students who score 1500 or more on the SAT have a 74 percent chance of obtaining a four-year college degree.
  • The College Board provides fee waivers for low-income students who can’t afford the SAT fee cost. Source: The College Board
-- Source: The College Board


  1. Super work by great students and congratulations to the teachers who help make it happen.

  2. Wow! Congratulations gentlemen and good luck in your college pursuits.


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