In the movie "The Perfect Score," which came out earlier this year, six students plotted to steal the answers to the SAT in order to obtain that elusive 1600, the top score.
Alden senior Todd Aldinger, 17, accomplished the same feat the old-fashioned way; he earned it.
The son of Charlie and Sue Aldinger, Todd achieved the top score after retaking the test in early October.
The College Board, which administers the test, did not have figures yet on how many other test-takers scored a 1600 in October, but reports that 939 members of the graduating class of 2004, or 0.066 percent of 1.4 million across the country, scored 1600.
"Know the tests, know the format," Todd said when asked for advice. "Review the math and the vocabulary tests. Read as much as you can. There's so many words, there's no way you can study them all over a month and memorize them." Todd had scored 1500 the first time he took the SAT. He concentrated on his verbal skills and studied "Cracking the SATs" guide from the Princeton Review the second time around.
The Alden senior is active in school, sports and the community. He is currently ranked 12th in his class with a 95.8 grade point average. He is a member of the student faculty forum, political science club and National Honor Society, and competes on the football, basketball and track teams. He helps with the Meals on Wheels program and won the National Honor Society's Volunteer of the Year award twice.
"Todd is an interesting kid," said Alden High School Principal Timothy Shannon. "He's involved in everything. He's the kind of kid you can really count on."
With all the sports and activities he's involved with, Todd said it took a lot of discipline to find enough time to study for the SATs. "It's hard," he said. "Between all my activities, you can't waste much time in the day. You can't spend an hour on the computer instant-messaging people, you have to use it to study."
While he has applied to such top schools as Harvard, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania, he's hoping to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While he's undecided as far as a major, Aldinger says he's interested in science and technology.