SMH Student One of Six in the World to Achieve Perfect AP Score

The odds of earning a perfect score on an Advanced Placement (AP) exam are slim; in fact, they are .000015%. Only six students in the world achieved this feat on the AP U.S. History Exam last school year, less than the number of astronauts who have landed on the moon – and Saint Mary’s Hall (SMH) student Nicholas Campos ‘22 was one.

Out of 399,676 tests that were administered to juniors in high school, Campos received word in October from the College Board that he correctly answered every multiple-choice question and five essays with a perfect score of 5, earning every point possible on this challenging, college-level examination. The achievement also marks the first time in school history a student has received a perfect score on the exam.

“To earn a perfect score is extraordinary!” said SMH Social Studies Instructor Mark Remington (pictured above). “It shows Nicholas’ love of history as well as his strong work ethic, his dedication to excellence, and his focus.”

“Not going to lie, I was confused when I got the email from the College Board because I knew I hadn’t taken the SAT recently and I didn’t know perfect scores on AP exams were a thing,” admits Campos. “I thought it was pretty cool, so I forwarded it to my parents and showed Mr. Remington.”

Though preparation is key, Remington said there is much more to this score than classroom preparation. “It is loving a subject, being a critical thinker, a talented writer, and having total focus while taking the exam,” said Remington.

Senior Nicholas Campos '22

                 Nicholas Campos '22

Now a senior, Campos has spent his entire academic career at SMH, enrolling as a Montessori student in 2009. Along his academic journey, he has developed an affinity for the subject of history. Though his love of the subject has grown to encompass general social studies such as government and politics, he attributes the initial spark to former Form 3 Teacher Amy Hetrick’s class.

“My love for history was probably inspired in Mrs. Hetrick’s class in 3rd grade,” Campos recalls. “Learning about the two World Wars was the most engaging thing I had ever heard and that is when I knew I wanted to learn a lot more about what caused past events.”

Beyond a love for history, faculty mentorship and instruction play an important role in preparing students for the AP U.S. History Exam. 

“I have to shout out all of my history teachers in high school,” Campos shared. “Global studies with Mr. [Adrian] Viccellio in 9th grade helped me get adjusted to the bigger workload of high school history classes, AP World History with Mrs. [Jill] Severe introduced me to the gold standard for essay writing, and then of course AP U.S. History with Mr. Remington was a great class. Even though I was on Zoom for 3/4 of the year, he always kept those of us on Zoom engaged, and I loved our class discussions over the chapters.”

“It speaks to the time and effort that our teachers and students put into creating a community of learners. Without teachers who work tirelessly to stimulate meaningful academic discussions, or students who encourage and cheer their peers’ successes, accomplishments like Nicholas’ could not occur,” added Remington.      

At SMH, Campos plays varsity lacrosse and is a member of the Student Council, Student Investment Group, and the Bowling Team. He is a National Merit Scholar Semifinalist and he has received four President's Volunteer Service Awards (Gold Level) in recognition of his service to the community.

 “Nicholas is one of the most humble and polite people I know,” said Remington. “Those traits, combined with Nicholas’ love of learning, make him a pleasure to teach.” 

As far what the future holds for Campos, he aims to study international relations in college and pursue a career in international development, hoping to work for a global nonprofit someday. In October, Campos and Remington were featured on KENS 5, watch it here.  

Learn more about SMH AP courses here.