At taking tests, freshman George Lee is not merely good, he's the best-in the entire nation. On Oct. 28, the College Board and Hillary Clinton recognized Lee at a national College Board meeting in Chicago for earning top scores on 18 advanced placement exams-more than any other high school student in the United States.
Described by friends as smart, hardworking and "totally cool," Lee came to Berkeley from North Hollywood (Calif.) High Magnet School and has been a College Board AP National Scholar for the last two years.
Students can take College Board Advanced Placement, or AP, exams in a variety of subjects during their high school years. A score of at least three out of a possible five earns college credit and can be put toward advanced standing in university studies. Many students enter Berkeley with advanced placement credit.
For Lee, the 18 examinations he passed with an average grade of 4.8 add up to so many credits that he could have skipped his freshman year altogether. But the requirements for the major he is considering-molecular and cell biology-add up to four full years of course work, no matter how much AP credit he has.
Lee took nine AP exams during his junior year in high school and nine more his senior year, including art history, U.S. government, economics, Spanish, English literature, statistics and biology. He earned the top score of five on 15 of the tests and scored fours on the rest.
Despite his academic record, Lee's friends point out that he "is not like a hermit or anything." In high school Lee played on the varsity tennis team, volunteered at the local library and attended Chinese school, where he also earned numerous awards. On campus, those who know Lee expect to see him once again rise to the head of the class, and make it look easy.