A British International School of Boston achieved a rare perfect score in this year’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme—a feat so difficult that only 1 in 1,000 students accomplish it.
Noah Fechtor-Pradines, who graduated from BISB at 416 Pond St. earlier this year, nabbed the elusive 45-point perfect score. Only 146 students in the world managed the feat this year, out of 135,534 total IB students.
The IB is an optional advanced-study course. To earn an IB diploma, students must take six subject exams, each graded by subject-area experts on a 7-point scale, and complete a Theory of Knowledge course and write a 4,000-word research paper for an additional 3 points.
Fechtor-Pradines, now a math student at Harvard University, told the Gazette that it “was always a fanciful idea at best that I might manage the 45.”
“I have always been competitive with myself – it frustrates me immensely if I attain any less than that which I know I should – but at no point did I expect I would actually get all of those points, so having done so came as a great shock and seems almost surreal,” he said.
He also didn’t really need the IB diploma. He had already been accepted to Harvard when he received it, “so it was purely a question of pride,” he said.
“I don’t see much practical purpose to my IB score apart from just being happy that I have it, and for me that is enough. I’ll take it as an indication that I applied myself sufficiently in high school, and I will try to continue the trend in college,” he said.
Fechtor-Pradines is the first BISB student ever to get a perfect IB score.
“To earn 45 points in the IB Diploma Programme requires not only academic ability but sustained motivation, resilience and character,” BISB Headmaster Paul Wiseman said in a press release. “Noah has set a challenge to which all our students can aspire. While such a performance is a very individual achievement, we must pay homage to the remarkable teachers and Noah’s family for their important part of this creditable and rare performance.”
Fechtor-Pradines cited his tutelage at BISB as a big factor in his success.
“Undoubtedly I was given strong academic preparation for the IB at BISB,” he said. “My shortcoming is, and always has been, not academics, but organization and time management.”
Fortunately, because he only had 12 people in his entire grade, with many classes with 4 or fewer students, “our teachers were well aware that I needed some extra direction and structure,” he said.
“Certain teachers spent inordinate amounts of time teaching me to plan my schoolwork, and without that effort on their parts I likely would not have completed all the work necessary to get a 45, or even a significantly lower score,” he added.
While Fechtor-Pradines accepts that transitioning to college—Harvard no less—is no easy jump from any high school, he said he is enjoying his classes and his new academic challenges in large part because of his time management skills.
“Given the enormity of this jump, I cannot imagine how I would be faring were I to have just spent spring term suffering from ‘senioritis’ or coasting along in easy courses with small workloads,” he said. “I am planning and organizing my time meticulously, to a degree I had never even considered before the IB. It has been over a month of the most demanding work I have ever experienced and I have not missed a single deadline for a course.”