Chris Nolan thought he'd performed pretty well when he took the college-admission ACT. He had no idea he'd answered every single question correctly.

Chris Nolan thought he'd performed pretty well when he took the college-admission ACT. He had no idea he'd answered every single question correctly.

The Powell resident and Columbus Academy junior earned a 36 out of a possible 36, putting him in the top 0.1 percent of the more than a million high school students who take the test each year.

"It was kind of an interesting day," he said, when he learned of his achievement.

"It's traditional that each (Academy) junior has to give a speech in front of the entire school," he said. "I had done that ... and then I came off the stage to see my parents (Alicia and Bill Nolan) and my mom told me. I already was on a high, and then I was just insanely happy.

"With school work and everything I had going on in the winter, I didn't have a chance to study much, but I did get a feeling for how (the test) would be," he said.

The ACT comes in different versions, Nolan said, and students can study sample sections on the ACT website and buy ACT-sanctioned study materials.

He said preparation is key to acing the test.

"A lot of preparation work is need to understand what the format is and what's going to be asked," he said. "Don't freak on test day. There are a lot of different editions of the test, and hopefully you'll get one that works for you."

A student's overall education is important, he said, and "I've gotten a very good education at Academy."

Kyle Tong has taught Nolan history and honors European history at Academy.

He said he believes Nolan's perfect ACT score is "a natural outgrowth of his intellectual curiosity. He likes tofigure things out. ... He's not looking for reward, but finds reward in knowledge and understanding. Many adults fail at that."

Nolan also "likes collaborative learning ... like seminars and discussion-based classes," Tong said. "(He's) able to draw understanding and learning from his peers, as well as books. He utilizes the entire school community and he gives back."

Nolan said his ACT score will be a "big bonus" in getting to college, he said. He's thinking about Vanderbilt University or Belmont University, both in Nashville.

Why Nashville?

"I would like to be a music composer," said Nolan, who has played piano for nine years and has learned other instruments, including trumpet and guitar.

He has a grade point average of 4.42 at Academy, where he is on the cross-country and track teams and serves as varsity basketball team manager.

A "new and exciting experience" for Nolan has been participating in the school's spring musical.

"It's been a lot of fun," he said. "I'm basically like any other teen. I love online games. ... I keep pretty busy."