AP Tests: May Stress

by Alexandra

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Students walked down the hallway in a frenzy, rushing from their lockers to their classes. Juggling sports, drama, community service, and academics is a common struggle for a student at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School. However, there was another issue on everyone’s mind. It was the conclusion to all the classes that students have worked endless hours for, trying to maintain a high average. The classes with the homework that students have slaved over until early hours of the morning. The classes that compel students to repeatedly study for daunting tests, quizzes, and quarterlies. The classes that are meant for college students, but meager high school students are attempting. The advance placement classes.

This May, many RFH students embarked on a difficult journey through the studying and reviewing process that concluded with the dreaded AP tests during the first and second week of May.

At Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, AP classes are offered in nearly every subject, including music, art, psychology, and business. The high school has a total of fourteen AP classes, as they are exceedingly popular in RFH, as shown by their high enrollment. Two-hundred and eighty-three students (one-fourth of the RFH student population) are currently enrolled in at least one AP class. Many also take multiple, especially seniors.

Mrs. Swift and Mrs. Fitzgerald are in charge of coordinating the AP classes at RFH. Fitzgerald said the AP test schedule is dictated by the College Board for the entire country. AP testing takes place from Monday, May 7th to Friday, May 18th. There are three to four AP tests a day in the College Board’s schedule, but not all of those AP classes are offered at RFH. Students are exempt from their classes during the three to four hour long test for each AP class.

However, they still must continue with other subject’s homework and tests although teachers try to not overload during these two weeks. Although this time is stressful for AP pupils, AP tests are helpful to both the school and the students. It allows RFH to advance with a higher level of academics as students can continue to gain further knowledge in a particular subject. AP classes also allow students to receive college credit if they do well on the exam, which is graded on a one to five system. Some colleges will give credit to students with a score of three or above, but many colleges, especially more competitive ones, only will if a student scores a five on the exam. This helps by giving them an advantage in college as they will have already completed a college level course. 

Abby Cooner, a senior at RFH, gave her insight into AP classes. She currently takes AP World, Psychology, Calculus, and Biology and took AP English and Human Geography in her junior year. Cooner described the purpose of the AP test: to assess knowledge gained throughout the AP course and to allow students to receive college credit and better their college application with a rigorous class. She found that the AP tests are successful as they assess the knowledge from the course in a similar way to class tests and are a good national standardized method to decide whether a student deserves college credit. Nevertheless, she remarked that knowledge is more than an AP test number, but still most students in AP classes choose to take the AP test.

The review process for an AP test is individual to each person and the class. However, in general, most students review with in-class projects and preparing alone at home. Although the in-class review starts about a month before the test in most classes, students do not typically start studying alone until about a week before. Cooner found that these two AP testing weeks tend to be extremely stressful as the opportunity for college credit relies on these exams. However, teachers, who can only predict the information on an AP test like a student can, try to ease this stress by building students’ confidence with preparation and practice tests. Cooner recommends using study habits discovered during tests in those classes and putting in effort throughout the year; therefore, there is no need to cram for the actual AP test. 

As soon as AP tests were over, students were able to again enjoy spring activities and events and anticipate the upcoming summer. But before that, if you saw a particularly anxious student in the hallway, try to remember what they were going through, and be thankful for one thing: that it was not you!

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Picture: http://www.orcharddelongcoop.com/tag/college

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