King High junior Haoqing Wang considers himself to be an average teenager enrolled in one of Hillsborough County’s most challenging academic programs.
“I like to do what every other teenage guy does,” Wang, 17, said smiling.
He enjoys playing basketball, hanging out and going to movies with friends.
Wang also excels in the International Baccalaureate program at King. His academic abilities helped him achieve a perfect 1,600 score on the critical reading and math portions of the SAT. He earned 790 out of 800 on the writing section.
The Tampa Palms resident was one of four students in the Hillsborough County School District to receive a perfect score on two sections of the college entrance examination.
Wang took the SAT in October. He admitted being nervous taking the test alongside mostly seniors. Most of Wang’s junior classmates waited to take the test in January.
At test time, Wang didn’t go in thinking it would be a cakewalk.
“I really didn’t think so,” Wang said of the test being easy. “I said ‘take it step-by-step, don’t get distracted, and don’t let any one question get in your head.’”
After the test, Wang still wasn’t overly confident, he said.
“It was one of those things you don’t want to take a guess” on how well you did, Wang said. “There is nothing you can do.”
He decided not to think too much about it.
King Principal Mike Rowan called Wang’s achievement remarkable and fabulous. “He is a great kid,” Rowan said. “He works hard and has good grades. All that shines through.”
Wang shrugs off the attention he has received since he learned about his scores. He knows his accomplishment was impressive but prefers to avoid the limelight.
What advice would he offer to other test-takers?
“Just know what strategy works for you,” he said.
Wang credits his father, Wei Wang, and his mother, Hongzhoucq Xiang, and his grandparents in China with encouraging him to learn and explore new things when he was a kid. Wei Wang is a professor at the University of South Florida, where he teaches statistics in public health.
Wang’s mother is impressed by her son’s natural academic abilities, she said.
“He doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare for a test,” Xiang said.
Studying for a test is not the driving force of his life, Wang said. He is president of King’s Math Club and participates in several school service organizations, including the National Honor Society and the Key Club. Wang hopes to return to work on the school newspaper staff next year. He didn’t this year because his school schedule was packed.
Wang has not decided what to major in when he attends college. He got a head start this year by taking his first college course, a Calculus class at the Hillsborough Community College Plant City campus.
He might major in math, but “that’s up in the air,” Wang said, adding he hasn’t started doing college tours.
Learning is a balancing act, Wang said. There is time to learn and be a teenager.
“I’m like every kid,” Wang said. “I do homework on the way to school.”