This teenager is one of 12 students in the world who aced the AP Calculus exam (2024)

Of the 302,532 students who took an Advanced Placement test to gauge their performance in college-level calculus last May, exactly 66,045 got the highest grade on the exam’s 5-point scale. To score a 5 is a notable accomplishment.

But just 12 students worldwide managed an extremely rare feat: They aced the AP exam known as Calculus AB, getting every answer correct on a test lasting 3 hours and 15 minutes, with 45 multiple-choice questions and six in a free-response format. They represent 0.004 percent of last year’s test takers, who were mostly high school juniors and seniors.

Meet one of this elite dozen: Landon Labuskes of Aldie, Va. He’s 15 now, a junior at Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, but he was 14 and a sophom*ore when he took the exam.

Landon learned months ago that he got a 5 on the test. That hadn’t shocked him because he felt confident in the course material and always had a feel for math. But last week Landon was pulled out of his biology class, called to the principal’s office. There, he learned that he had performed flawlessly.


“I was definitely surprised,” Landon said Tuesday. “It’s a matter of knowing the math, but also being fortunate to not make any silly mistakes.”

The College Board had sent the Catholic school a Jan. 12 letter certifying Landon’s feat. School officials provided a copy of it to The Washington Post, and the College Board confirmed its authenticity.

A College Board spokesman said it is customary to inform a school when a student attains the “remarkable achievement” of a perfect score. Of the 12 students who scored 108 out of 108 possible points on the Calculus AB test, 10 were in the United States, one in Canada and one in Istanbul, Turkey.

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Landon is quick to give credit to his teacher, Ann Watkins. “She does a really good job,” he said. He allowed that he is “a good math student,” but said he is not necessarily the best in the subject at the 1,000-student school. He said he knows of one student at Paul VI who took the AP Calculus BC test as a freshman. (That test covers more advanced material than the AB version.)


“Got a 5 without even taking the class,” Landon, impressed, said of that student. Another student he knows got top marks in AP Calculus BC and AP Statistics as a sophom*ore and is now studying multi-variable calculus through a college. “He’s done with the math courses available here,” Landon said.

Watkins, who now has Landon in her Calculus BC class, described the star student as “a really intelligent young man.” She said Landon excels in her classes but does not always get every answer right.

“It’s so hard to be perfect,” Watkins said. “You always make the little dumb mistakes now and then.”

The teacher said Landon also is very nice, and humble. “He teases me and I tease him,” she said. “When I do make a mistake, which of course is very, very rare, he is always the one to point it out to me.” She said Landon takes “an intuitive approach” to problem solving, sometimes veering from the methods the teacher shows her class.


“When he takes a test, I’m challenged in grading,” she said. “He might take a different approach to a problem. Which is perfectly fine.”

Calculus AB, according to the College Board, is roughly equivalent to the first semester of college calculus. It covers functions, graphs and limits; derivatives; and integrals. Among the topics are the fundamental theorem of calculus and “techniques and applications of anti-differentiation.”

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Originally from Harford County, Md., Landon is the younger of two sons in his family. His parents are business executives. At school he is involved in model United Nations and model judiciary programs. He said he is an Eagle scout and aims one day to be an aerospace engineer.

Barbara Labuskes said her son Landon always has been a problem solver. At an early age, he was thinking in terms of “3x plus 2y equals” something, she said. “I can remember when he was probably 5 years old, he would come out of the shower and tell me these things he was thinking about. In essence, he was doing algebraic equations, trying to solve and figure things out.”


The proud mother said she took her son out to Dairy Queen last week to celebrate the perfect score. His favorite ice cream order there: a Salted Caramel Truffle Blizzard.

Asked for his view of math, Landon said: “It’s an interesting way of connecting the world around us into something you can look at and understand what’s going on.” Population growth, for example. “When you look at it through math, it becomes more understandable in a way.”

Why is it appealing?

“I definitely appreciate the black-and-whiteness of it,” he said. “Being able to know whether you’re right or wrong and understand why. There is also a bit of artistic aspect to it in terms of being able to think of different ways to do a problem.”

Calculus AB was Landon’s first AP test. This year, in addition to Calculus BC, he is taking AP courses in physics, U.S. history, biology and Latin. That means five more tough tests in May. Can he repeat his performance last year on any of those tests?


“Probably not going to happen again,” Landon said. “I wish it would.”

Nearly 2.5 million students took a total of almost 4.5 million AP tests overall last year. Of the test-takers, just 322 obtained every point possible on an AP test, and perfect scores were logged on 21 of the 36 AP exams. Here’s the breakdown of those perfect scores:

  • 67 in Computer Science A
  • 55 in Spanish Language and Culture
  • 54 in Microeconomics
  • 36 in German Language and Culture
  • 22 in Macroeconomics
  • 16 in Studio Art: Drawing Portfolio
  • 12 in Calculus AB
  • 11 in Calculus BC
  • 11 in Physics C: Mechanics
  • 7 in Japanese Language and Culture
  • 7 in Studio Art: 2-D Design Portfolio
  • 4 in Chemistry
  • 4 in Psychology
  • 4 in Italian Language and Culture
  • 3 in U.S. Government and Politics
  • 2 in French Language and Culture
  • 2 in Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
  • 2 in Statistics
  • 2 in U.S. History
  • 2 in Studio Art: 3-D Design Portfolio
  • 1 in Latin

There apparently were no perfect scores last year in English, Biology, Chinese, World History and several other subjects. Two students received perfect scores on two separate exams, the College Board said.

This teenager is one of 12 students in the world who aced the AP Calculus exam (2024)
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