UC Berkeley press release

NEWS RELEASE, 10/27/97

Top test-taker in the nation, a UC Berkeley freshman, will be applauded by Hillary Clinton tomorrow

by Kathleen Scalise


BERKELEY--UC Berkeley freshman George Lee is not just good at taking tests, he's the best -- in the entire nation. Tomorrow, the College Board and Hillary Clinton will recognize Lee for earning top scores on 18 Advanced Placement exams, more than any other high school student in the U.S.

Described by friends as smart, hardworking and "totally cool," Lee comes to UC Berkeley from North Hollywood High Magnet School in Southern California and has been a College Board AP National Scholar for the last two years. He and five others will be recognized for academic excellence at the close of a national College Board meeting in Chicago tomorrow (Oct. 28).

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will speak at the lunchtime ceremonies and will herself receive the College Board Medal for Distinguished Service to Education.

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 UC Berkeley with advanced placement credit.

For Lee, the 18 examinations he passed with an average grade of 4.8 mean he earned enough credit that he could have skipped his freshman year at Berkeley altogether.

Except Lee is learning quick that even he doesn't have all the answers. Requirements for the major he is thinking of declaring -- molecular and cell biology -- add up to a full four years of coursework, no matter how much AP credit he has.

Lee took nine AP exams during his junior year 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 fifteen of the tests and scored fours on the rest.

But 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. And at UC Berkeley, those who know Lee expect to see him once again rise to the head of the class, and make it look easy.

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