PHS senior earns perfect score on AP Research exam

Nov. 3, 2021

Pflugerville High School senior Lamisa Mahmud joined a rare club as she received notice from the College Board that she earned a perfect score on the AP Research Exam in May. She is one of just 375 students in the world to earn every possible point on the exam. 

“Lamisa is an incredibly bright student. There is no question of that. However, earning a perfect score on a test of this caliber shows just how dedicated and intentional she is in her academic pursuits,” said Pflugerville High School Principal Zack Kleypas.

AP exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5, but it is possible to receive a 5 rating without a perfect score. Mahmud received maximum points in each section of the AP Research Exam, putting her in that rare group of perfect scores.

Julia Levy has taught Mahmud since middle school and seen her academic growth. She is not surprised Mahmud has achieved everything she has set her mind to in school because she is a student with incredible drive and a vision for accomplishing her goals.

“Lamisa is someone I have known and taught since 6th grade, so this recognition only affirms what I already know about her. She is curious about the natural world and knows how to systematically answer questions through data analysis,” Levy said. “To ask and answer one’s own questions requires patience, organization, creativity, and a humility to recognize the limitations within one’s own research work. Lamisa has quietly honed her research skills over many years, and her perseverance has contributed more to her success than anything I could have done for her as a teacher and research mentor.”

With a student among such rare company is an opportunity to show other students what is possible through hard work and dedication on their academic path.

“Having a student achieve this kind of recognition is such a great moment for Pflugerville High School and all of our teachers in Pflugerville ISD. Our staff devote their time and attention to students and their success, and having a student perform at this level is a testament to Lamisa and all of the many teachers who have impacted her learning along her journey. We are so proud of her and her accomplishment.”

The academic environment at Pflugerville High School and PfISD helped fuel Mahmud along her journey. Levy said she hopes that seeing Mahmud get a perfect score on the AP Research exam will encourage other students to pursue some of the programs offered that they may have been tentative to give a try and begin to push themselves as well.

“Pflugerville High School has a culture of positive risk taking when it comes to academics. We offer the advanced courses, help every student who wants to try them, and we have the ability to push the students as far as they are willing to trust us,” Levy said. “I think as other students learn of their peers’ successes, we may have some reluctant students give our advanced programs a try.”

Acing exams is not the only thing Mahmud has been recognized for either.

According to PHS college and career counselor Nick Howell, Mahmud is one of 100 finalists for the Piper Scholars Program. Schools must be invited to nominate students to the program that awards four-year scholarships to academically promising high school seniors in certain regions of Texas that need financial aid to attend their college of choice in Texas. Students must maintain at least a B average in college to remain in the program and continue to receive their scholarship.