More than 4.5 million AP Spanish Language and Culture tests are taken annually across the globe, and among this school year’s test-takers are two Orange County students who both earned perfect scores.

Noeli Zarate, a senior at Santa Ana High School in the Santa Ana Unified School District, and Andrea Lopez, a sophomore at Beckman High School in the Tustin Unified School District, were honored Wednesday, April 6 at the Orange County Board of Education meeting. Not only did they secure the highest score the exam has to offer, they earned every single point possible, placing them in very select company — they’re two of only 55 students worldwide to achieve perfection.

Orange County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares and Board of Education President Robert Hammond both commended the scholars.

“What they have done is almost statistically impossible in a way,” Dr. Mijares said. “This is an aberration; it just doesn’t happen.”

Indeed, the notoriously difficult exam consists of a 95-minute multiple choice section and an 85-minute free response section, assessing student proficiency in interpersonal, interpretive and presentational modes of communication. It’s safe to say a certain amount — if not a very large amount — of studying went into preparing for the test.

“It’s noteworthy to also praise their schools, parents and everybody who played a role in their success,” the superintendent said.

What comes next for these students? Board President Hammond said he’s anxious to find out.

“What you two ladies have done is just phenomenal,” he said, “and I look forward to seeing where this is going to go for your lives.”