Donovan Catholic senior formulates perfect score on AP chemistry exam

July 29, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.
Donovan Catholic senior formulates perfect score on AP chemistry exam
Donovan Catholic senior formulates perfect score on AP chemistry exam


By David Karas | Correspondent

Emily Ostermann, a senior in Donovan Catholic High School, Toms River, whipped up a unique solution when she took the Advanced Placement Chemistry exam: a perfect score.

According to the College Board – the institution that administers Advanced Placement, college-credit-bearing courses and exam programs for high school students – Ostermann was one of just three students in the world to earn every possible point on the difficult exam.

“It feels great,” said the 18-year-old member of St. Joseph Parish, Toms River. “I was ecstatic when I found out.”

The road to the challenging exam, and Ostermann’s stellar performance, began in her sophomore year, when she took an honors chemistry course, and continued the next year, when she took AP chemistry for two semesters.

“I always stayed ahead of the class,” she said. “I would make sure that I studied the next chapter on my own before we got to it in class. That way, I learned everything twice.”

She continued, “I put in some solid hours of studying and always saved time on the weekends to take notes and do practice problems.”

She said she also worked through practice books as the exam neared – and her preparation came in handy for one question in particular.

“One free response question on kinetics required me to design an experiment,” she noted. “I was very nervous about this one.”

Needless to say, she aced the question, which wasn’t a shock to vice principal Kathleen D’Andrea.

“Nothing surprises me about Emily’s potential to do amazing things,” she said. “Her knowledge in chemistry resulted from her 100 percent commitment to her teacher and to the other students in the class.”

D’Andrea also noted that Ostermann was a benefit to her peers. “She was the go-to person when anyone needed help,” she explained. “This is typical of Emily’s thirst for knowledge and her desire to be a resource for others.”

Ostermann, who sat for the exam in May following the AP chemistry course, credits her teacher, Dr. Michael Lacy, and the unique approach of the course. “We studied at home and worked on problems together in class. This was a perfect environment for discussion that let us learn from each other and form ideas in a dynamic way.”

Advanced Placement exams are scored one through five, with five being the highest and carrying the classification of “extremely well-qualified.”

According to College Board data, only 10.1 percent of students who took the AP chemistry exam in 2017 landed a five, with the largest share of students – just over 50 percent – receiving a score of three or two.

Looking forward, Ostermann is considering her college choices, and her options include Princeton University, Princeton, and Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

“I want to major in electrical engineering,” she said. “I plan to work on agricultural technology to help create sustainable agriculture.”

She also shared her interest in research projects around analyzing landscapes, engineering smart collars for livestock, and “teams of small robots that can plant, grow and harvest crops by using networked group-thinking.”

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By David Karas | Correspondent

Emily Ostermann, a senior in Donovan Catholic High School, Toms River, whipped up a unique solution when she took the Advanced Placement Chemistry exam: a perfect score.

According to the College Board – the institution that administers Advanced Placement, college-credit-bearing courses and exam programs for high school students – Ostermann was one of just three students in the world to earn every possible point on the difficult exam.

“It feels great,” said the 18-year-old member of St. Joseph Parish, Toms River. “I was ecstatic when I found out.”

The road to the challenging exam, and Ostermann’s stellar performance, began in her sophomore year, when she took an honors chemistry course, and continued the next year, when she took AP chemistry for two semesters.

“I always stayed ahead of the class,” she said. “I would make sure that I studied the next chapter on my own before we got to it in class. That way, I learned everything twice.”

She continued, “I put in some solid hours of studying and always saved time on the weekends to take notes and do practice problems.”

She said she also worked through practice books as the exam neared – and her preparation came in handy for one question in particular.

“One free response question on kinetics required me to design an experiment,” she noted. “I was very nervous about this one.”

Needless to say, she aced the question, which wasn’t a shock to vice principal Kathleen D’Andrea.

“Nothing surprises me about Emily’s potential to do amazing things,” she said. “Her knowledge in chemistry resulted from her 100 percent commitment to her teacher and to the other students in the class.”

D’Andrea also noted that Ostermann was a benefit to her peers. “She was the go-to person when anyone needed help,” she explained. “This is typical of Emily’s thirst for knowledge and her desire to be a resource for others.”

Ostermann, who sat for the exam in May following the AP chemistry course, credits her teacher, Dr. Michael Lacy, and the unique approach of the course. “We studied at home and worked on problems together in class. This was a perfect environment for discussion that let us learn from each other and form ideas in a dynamic way.”

Advanced Placement exams are scored one through five, with five being the highest and carrying the classification of “extremely well-qualified.”

According to College Board data, only 10.1 percent of students who took the AP chemistry exam in 2017 landed a five, with the largest share of students – just over 50 percent – receiving a score of three or two.

Looking forward, Ostermann is considering her college choices, and her options include Princeton University, Princeton, and Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

“I want to major in electrical engineering,” she said. “I plan to work on agricultural technology to help create sustainable agriculture.”

She also shared her interest in research projects around analyzing landscapes, engineering smart collars for livestock, and “teams of small robots that can plant, grow and harvest crops by using networked group-thinking.”

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