EDUCATION: Surrey calculus student makes history

Published: December 27, 2012

Christopher Poon

Surrey Now

A Tamanawis student has made history by becoming just the sixth student in the world to have received a perfect score on an internationally-renowned calculus exam earlier this year.

Sargun Bajaj credits his perfect score on a renowned calculus exam to his teacher. Photograph by: KEVIN HILL , Surrey NOW

Grade 12 student Sargun Bajaj wrote the exam this past June and recently found out that he had received a perfect score on the exam, which had more than 267,000 students writing it this year alone. Participants include students from Europe, North America and Asia and the exam is held annually to test high-school students on their advanced mathematic skills.

The exam also counts toward postsecondary credit.

“When I heard the news I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it,” said Bajaj. “After it sank in, I was really proud.”

According to Bajaj, the exam itself didn’t seem anymore difficult than the practice ones he had completed as a study method, which gave him all the more confidence when it came time to write the big test.

The test consisted of multiple choice questions as well as essay-like free response questions.

“We kind of did a few mock exams before so I was really prepared for the AP exam. So I knew what lied ahead,” he said.

“It was pretty much as difficult as the mock exams. There was one question that kind of caught me off guard but at the end I just changed the answer and got it right.”

Bajaj credits his success to Tamanawis AP calculus teacher Suminder Singh, whose AP teaching style gave Bajaj the skills needed to ace the exam.

“He pretty much taught us everything from the basics,” said Bajaj. “The understandings that I got from his teachings was pretty much how I got a perfect score.”

Tamanawis principal Margaux Molson said she and the entire school are proud of Bajaj’s achievement, which was all the more special considering Bajaj’s age at the time of the writing.

“Sargun was only in Grade 11 when he wrote that exam, where most students who write it are in Grade 12,” said Molson.

“To have that level of accomplishment, particularly in mathematics at that age, we’re just awestruck by it.

“It’s a tribute and credit to him for all of his hard work, as well as to the program and the math teachers involved.”

Molson noted that there were two other AP classes offered at the school, AP chemistry and AP world history, both of which Bajaj intends to write in the New Year.

As for the future, Bajaj said he has applied to UBC’s Faculty of Applied Science with the hopes of moving on to become a doctor.

When asked what the future may hold for Bajaj, Molson said, “I would guess that he will be seen by the universities as exemplary and would imagine the universities would certainly recognize his talent with scholarship offerings. He brings lots of pride to schools.”

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