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Wilcox Teen Strums Up Perfect Score on AP Exam

Ryota Sato, 16, is a student at Wilcox High School. When Sato first began learning Computer Science, he was unsure whether the subject was the right fit for him. But he kept on with his studies. During the spring semester of 2021, Sato took the Advanced Placement (AP) test for Computer Science Principles. He scored 100 percent with no mistakes.

“I got an email from the AP College Board congratulating me on my perfect score for the AP test in Computer Science Principles,” Sato said. “The email gave statistics on how many people received a perfect score. Only 0.29 percent of the test takers of this test received a perfect score.

“About 115,000 people took the test and I was one out of 335 students who received a full score in the whole world,” Sato continued. “For the AP Computer Science Principles test, I got 70 multiple choice questions, and I also had to create my own project, which was scored.”

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The project Sato worked into his test was a music player app.

“The app basically allowed users to add musical notes to their palate and play them back,” he said. “By creating a functioning music player, users can get hands-on experience with music and create cool ideas for composing music.”

Sato offered tips for students who are taking this test.

“Make sure to practice a lot before the test,” he said. “What I did was that I took a lot of free practice tests online. If you take the test without reviewing the topics, it will be pretty difficult. Pace yourself. You can start studying months before the test so you can be better prepped for the test.”

Karen Hardy was Sato’s AP Computer Science Principles teacher at Wilcox.

“Ms. Hardy gave us a lot of flexibility with projects we had to do in class,” Sato said. “I wasn’t confined or forced to do one thing. So that allowed me to better express my creativity. In Ms. Hardy’s class, I made a guitar chooser app to help consumers choose the best guitar for them.”

“For our class, we used this free website called code.org, which teaches young students like me to learn how to code,” Sato continued. “Code.org is based off JavaScript, a computer programming language that I used in my project.”

Sato has enjoyed connecting his love of music to his computer programming projects.

“I play the guitar, specifically the jazz guitar,” he said. “I am in several regional and state bands, including the San Jose High School All-Stars Big Band and I was also part of the California All-State High School Honor Jazz Band.”

Sato is considering attending an out-of-state college that can offer him continuing enrichment in computer science and math.

“Computer science and engineering helps us to solve problems, improve our personal lives and it helps me to express my creativity,” Sato said. “In the future, I’d like to incorporate my passion for music with computer science and make it my career.”

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