For most students across America, simply enrolling in an AP college-level course while still in high school can be a daunting step, especially when one takes into account the tough reputation these classes have from the get-go.
Add into that scenario the hair-pulling difficulty of each AP course’s year-end test, and one can see why the majority of students opt for more casual pastures.
But that didn’t stop three students – Adam Tucker, Miguel Padilla and Jenning Chen – from striving for greatness anyway, and this year their hard work has been rewarded with three perfect AP test scores.
What does it take to be one of only a few students in the entire world to get a perfect AP test score?
Here’s how they did it:
Adam Tucker, Mercer Island, Washington
Adam not only received a perfect score on one AP test – something even the test-designers weren’t able to achieve – he managed to do it twice. That’s rights: Adam is one of only three students nationwide to receive a perfect score on two AP tests. And sure, he’s used to success – a perfect 4.0 GPA, senior class president, swim team member and trumpet player in the school band – but he never expected to reach such a high level of esteem.
“I was pretty surprised,” he told the College Board. “I knew I had done well, I studied extensively for the test, but I definitely was not expecting perfect scores.”
Miguel Padilla, Fort Worth, Texas
Miguel understands computers. That, if anything, is an understatement. But when the senior at Harmony School of Innovation in Fort Worth, Texas, discovered he had received a perfect score on the AP Computer Science A Exam – one of only ten students in the world, out of more than 58,000, to receive such a score – he was overwhelmed.
“I never thought it would happen,” he told the College Board. “I never though I would get a perfect score. I thought I did well, but when I found out I was jumping up and down.”
“My mom go really excited,” he added.
As the son of Latino immigrants – his father works for the city of Fort Worth; his mother has a cleaning service – Miguel knows the challenges Latino students face, but he also learned through his parents the value of hard work and the positive result of consistent determination.
His dream now? To barrel through MIT and wind up at Google, of course!
Jenning Chen, Columbia, South Carolina
Is there such a thing as smartest teenage girl in the world? If so, Jenning is a strong candidate. As the only female student to get a perfect score on the AP Calculus exam – notorious as one of the most difficult of all AP exams – Jenning still remains casual and calm about her success.
“Wow, I didn’t expect to make a perfect score,” she told the College Board. “When I took the exam, I didn’t really think about it. This is really surprising.”
Surprising or not, Jenning already has a track record of achievement. With 4 AP courses already under her belt, and 13 AP courses expected to be passed by her graduation, she is used to challenging herself. As a woman in the STEM field, she is already working on developing unique software apps, like an online peer to peer tutoring platform for students, and all that while she’s not playing varsity tennis and math competitions.
“I learned how to use reasoning and logic to solve problems in elementary school and that has made learning easier,” she said.
In that regard, Jenning’s success in life seems like the next most logical step in that path.
Head over to the College Board to learn more.
Evan Smith is a Staff Writer for Opportunity Lives. You can follow him on Twitter @Evansmithreport.