Charles Guan ’12 Selected for Siemens Advanced Placement Award

Charles Guan ’12 was named a Massachusetts winner of the 2011 Siemens Award for Advanced Placement, after he earned perfect scores on seven of the eight AP exams he took in science and mathematics. One male and one female high school student are selected from each state to be recognized for their achievements in the Advanced Placement program. Awards are given based on the number of fives, the highest AP exam score, that the students earn and the number of classes they take from a selection of eight AP science and math courses. The AP courses recognized by the program are Biology, BC Calculus, Chemistry, Computer Science A, Environmental Science, Statistics, Physics C: Mechanics and Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism. Guan received a $2,000 college scholarship as part of the award. “I think [the AP exams] certainly gave a good basis for me to be able to take other classes that may affect my interest in college, but I don’t think the actual classes have had too much of an effect on what I actually do,” said Guan. “I felt that I was better prepared in math and science at the start. I guess it’s partially because both my parents are engineers,” he added. Guan prepared extensively on his own time to prepare for four of the eight AP exams. According to Guan, although he did not take all his AP courses at Andover, much of the material overlapped with what he had already learned from his previous school and his extracurricular studies. Guan said that his pre-calculus classes in middle school covered half of the topics in Andover’s AP Statistics course, and Environmental Science and Chemistry topics were integrated into his science classes. He also said that participating in Science Bowl competitions both throughout middle school and at Andover added to his strong science background. Guan said that he particularly enjoyed taking Physics with Peter Watt, Instructor in Physics, and Calculus, with William Scott, Instructor in Mathematics. He added that the most challenging AP exam he took was Computer Science. “I didn’t take the [course] here, but I think Computer Science was the most challenging for me because it’s very different from every other type of high school course,” he said. To study for the Computer Science exam, Guan watched online video lectures and read AP test preparation books over the summer before his Upper year. Guan is Co-President of the Andover Math and Science clubs, both of which prepare members for competitions such as the American Mathematics Contest (AMC), the New England Mathematics League (NEML) competition, the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament (HMMT), the National Science Olympiad and Science Bowl. The Siemens Foundation established the Award for Advanced Placement in 1998, according to the foundation’s website. This year, 101 high school students across 50 states–96 seniors, four juniors and one sophomore–were named winners of the Siemens Award.