Allison Tielking ’15 and Edward Mellow ’14 Earned “Perfect” Score on AP Macroeconomics Exam

Allison Tielking ’15 and Edward Mellow ’14 were two of only 52 students in the world to earn every point possible on the Advanced Placement Macroeconomics Exam answering every multiple-choice question correctly and earning full points on the free response section of the exam. A total of 117,000 students took the AP Macroeconomics Exam in 2014. That places these MICDS scholars in the top 0.044% of all high school students worldwide who took this exam.

Approximately 4 million AP Exams were taken by 1.5 million U.S. high school 11th and 12th graders in 2014, and only 285 students earned every point possible on the AP Exam. It is very rare for a high school student to earn every point possible on the exam.

Brian Johannes, AP Macroeconomics teacher, can attest to this rare and amazing achievement. “In the twenty-plus years that I have taught this course at MICDS, more than 700 students have taken this exam – many of whom have gone on to earn advanced degrees in economics or achieved great success in business,” he said. “However, of this distinguished group, Allison and Eddy are the first to earn a perfect score on the exam.

AP Macroeconomics focuses on national income and price determination, the functioning of the economic system as a whole, monetary and fiscal policies, and international trade. Additionally, students study stock market basics and participate in an investment challenge.

According to Allison, while she felt very well-prepared for the exam, she was still pleasantly surprised by her score. “It’s very rare and is probably a once in a lifetime achievement for me,” she said. Allison is quick to credit Mr. Johannes for giving her such a strong foundational understanding of the principles of macroeconomics and for helping her be so well prepared for the test. “Mr. Johannes provided an extensive amount of review material that really helped me in learning and knowing the material inside and out.”

“In AP Economics we try to live out the MICDS mission which states that ‘Our school cherishes academic rigor, encourages and praises meaningful individual achievement, and fosters virtue.’ Our students matriculate at the most intellectually demanding colleges and universities in the country,” said Johannes. “In order to prepare our students for success at that level of academic rigor, the MICDS college prep program must be similarly rigorous, while at the same time offering our students a significant level of support appropriate to high school students learning to manage college-level expectations for their work ethic and achievement.”

This three-trimester course is designed to give students a thorough understanding of the principles of macroeconomics; serves as preparation for the AP examination and is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, college-level, principles course.

According to Johannes, both Allison and Eddy were dedicated students who exhibited drive, discipline and determination.

“Mastery of the material always came easy for Allison,” noted Johannes. “In reality, I probably could have just assigned the reading and answered a dozen of her best questions throughout the course of the year (there were often dozens of great questions per week) and she would have earned a 5 on the exam. It is a testament to Allison’s drive that she was never content just to earn a 5 on the exam (which usually requires earning 85% of the available points), she always wanted to know everything. In 2014 on the AP Macro exam, she demonstrated that she did.”

“Eddy has the well-developed critical reasoning skills that are required to find success in a discipline such as economics. The combination of his sharp analytical mind and his quiet determination ensure that he is never willing to settle for less than his best effort,” said Brian. “He holds himself to a very high standard in his character development and academic work and this has helped him achieve a great level of success. He obviously brought his A-game to the exam last May. How often can a student claim to be one of 52 in the world to accomplish anything?”

According to Johannes, students registering for AP Macroeconomics know that the expectations for their achievement and work ethic will be quite high; sometimes, they believe, impossibly high.

“Fortunately, the students who walk in my door do so with a strong skill set and a drive to succeed. I consistently communicate the high expectations clearly articulated in our School’s Mission, challenge each student to work outside his/her individual comfort zone, and offer support for those seeking additional assistance,” he said. “It is when our students challenge themselves to work harder and achieve at a level higher that great things happen. MICDS students can achieve greatness when they step outside their comfort zones and this was certainly the case with Allison and Eddy. They embraced the challenges of the MICDS Mission Statement and deserve great praise for their achievement.”

“AP courses and exams are college-level, and require hard work and focus on the part of students and their teachers,” said Trevor Packer, senior vice president of instruction at the College Board. “On behalf of the College Board, we congratulate the students and community members who make challenging coursework and focused practice a priority, and who motivate and encourage all students to capture their academic potential.”

MICDS is one of the most active participants in the Advanced Placement program in the Midwest Region of The College Board. Each year more than 230 students take approximately 500 AP examinations in up to 23 separate subjects. In the past three years, 87% received qualifying grades.