BASIS Independent McLean officials announced Nov. 9 that junior Daria Lhommedieu, a member of the Class of 2023, had earned a perfect score on the Advanced Placement (AP) psychology exam – something accomplished by only six of the more than 262,000 students worldwide who took the exam this year.
Lhommedieu’s exam results place her in the top 0.002 percent of test-takers worldwide.
“Daria’s success is extraordinary,” said Head of School Jason Shorbe. “Her score reflects her energy and dedication for her studies, and the subject-expert guidance from her teacher, Mr. Robert Biemesderfer.”
The AP psychology exam uses both multiple-choice and free-response questions to measure students’ knowledge of college-level psychological principles and their ability to apply their understanding of human behavior and mental processes.
Lhommedieu said she likes psychology because she is interested in how the mind works and why people make the decisions they do.
“That is a very complicated topic, but I learned things such as theories of cognition, emotion and development that helped me understand the human mind better,” she said.
Lhommedieu is in her fifth year of studies at BASIS Independent McLean. She said her test score shows her that sustained hard work pays off, and attributed her ability to perform well on this high-stakes test to the school’s effective teaching of how to study and think under pressure. Though ready for the exam, she never expected to earn a perfect score.
“I felt I had done well, but a perfect score did not even cross my mind because they are so rare,” Lhommedieu said. Biemesderfer, who teaches the school’s AP psychology course, “prepared us well, so I walked into the test confident, but I did not expect to know the answer to every question.”
Lhommedieu regularly asks detailed questions to achieve mastery of the material, Biemesderfer said.
“I am especially proud that she was able to achieve this remarkable feat in the midst of a global pandemic,” he said. “Her hard work and dedication paid off with this tremendous result.”
For most of the 2020-21 school year, BASIS Independent McLean’s high-school students learned in a hybrid model with two days in-person, one day synchronous (i.e., live learning) online and two days asynchronous (i.e., recorded classes).