Junior Sadie Bauer joins only 37 other students nationwide in receiving a perfect score on the AP Seminar exam

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The College Board administers dozens of AP subject tests across the nation every May, including the AP Seminar exam, part of a three year program at Townsend Harris High School that must be completed fully to earn the AP Capstone Diploma. 

Since the course is regarded as one of the most rigorous courses at THHS, many students devote their time to perfecting their skills in this class under the advisement of Social Studies teachers Franco Scardino and Chris Hackney. Junior Sadie Bauer, who was a sophomore when she took AP Seminar with Mr. Scardino, earned a perfect score on the test last May, a feat so elusive that only 38 test takers nationwide shared it with her. 

In July, Sadie received her score of five from the College Board website, not out of the norm from other students receiving AP exam results concurrently. However, it wasn’t until recently that she got an email from the College Board saying she had gotten a perfect score, Sadie told The Classic. “I remember running to my mom and showing her. We were both like ‘Oh my God.’”

“It’s cliche, but [I learned] the value of hard work,” Sadie said. “So many hours went into preparation, and it’s a rigorous class, but it was really rewarding. I also learned the importance of asking for help. I really couldn’t have done this without Mr. Scardino’s guidance, and practicing in front of my parents and friends.”

When asked how she prepared for the exam, Sadie said that she practiced at home by “reviewing what the top scorer did, and how they constructed their arguments, and [then] compared it to lower-scoring responses.” 

“I also really appreciated the fact that Mr. Scardino went over the exam breakdown in class,” she said.

“Sadie is a hardworking and collaborative student,” said Mr. Scardino.  “She faces challenges head on and always looks for solutions. She is a tremendous asset in the AP Capstone program.”

Sadie was the second student to perform perfectly on the AP Seminar exam at Townsend Harris, with the first being Rachel Zheng in 2019.

Mr. Scardino, who has been teaching Social Science Research—later called AP Capstone—since 2004, described the course as follows: “Students engage in critically analyzing scholarly research and develop questions to address a knowledge gap. They construct an argument based on the credible and reliable sources they have selected, while acknowledging the possibility of a viable counterargument.”

The test as a whole consists of  three components: Performance Task One, Performance Task Two, and the AP exam itself. Task One is an individual research report alongside a group presentation, which is then sent to the College Board to grade. Task Two also has an individual research paper component, but it must use a theme that’s provided by the College Board in July.

Photo courtesy of  Sadie Bauer