AP Season is Here, and So is the Stress - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Islander Times News

AP Season is Here, and So is the Stress

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Posted: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 8:38 am

AP tests put more pressure on students when they study a year of cumulative information in an attempt to gain college credit.

AP tests are upon us and the stress to cram in a year of information pushes students to the limit. The price of tests alone ($113 each) can make anyone scared of the result, but the promise of college credit with a passing grade still leads students to sign up. Taking AP classes and performing well on the tests can help students applying for colleges stand out against those who opt for regular-level courses. These tests may be more stressful than finals because although they don’t count for a grade in a class, they can decide what route to take or what field of study to begin looking towards. By acing an AP test in high school, one will have the opportunity to skip simple introductory classes in college altogether.

There’s an expectation to know all of the information on the test, including the content for unknown essay prompts that are revealed the day of the exam. Most students must prioritize all of the information because it is nearly impossible to know every fact, so chunking the material is the most realistic way to get a generalized preparation for the exam. Another dilemma with the AP tests is that the grading system is somewhat mysterious. There are set standards visible for the essays, but nobody can know if they met all of the unstated requirements. The multiple choice section has become more accepted since the penalty for incorrect answers was removed and scores are based solely on what the test-taker got correct. This makes the test easier to handle and can be a better judge of which concepts one actually understands.

Though AP tests have improved, the placement of the tests at the start of May can add to the stress that is already quickly approaching during the month. Taking AP classes are important, but it is clear that there are still many other classes in session during the testing which don’t slow down for a few test takers. This can add pressure because students are actively studying for AP tests and reviewing for finals but now have to worry about the class time they’ve missed during the exam. AP tests can range from three to four hours, taking up whole periods of classes and causing student to miss valuable notes and lectures. A modified schedule for classes with a majority taking tests may be a simple solution for the years to come. This would alleviate some of the worry that material is being missed while students are busy with the exam. AP tests also seem intimidating due to the nature of the test itself, but with the right mindset, these exams can be viewed as ordinary tests. Scheduling study time each day for different tests can take off some of the pressure by reassuring that one is prepared to take the test itself. Many students even take tests for classes they didn’t take in order to get the credits and prepare by studying in a straightforward review-like way.

To many of the students at CHS and high achieving high schools across the country, AP tests hold a major value and influence. Though it is hard to admit, test takers are very competitive with other peers taking the same subject test. Everyone’s goal is to get a five, but it often leads to comparisons and the overpowering fear of getting anything below a passing score of three. Academics in general have become incredibly competitive and the competition almost becomes a form of motivation to many students who strive to accomplish what they know they are capable of. The most stressful part of the test taking is probably not all the outside influence but really what the test taker believes they are knowledgeable of and knowing that they can get a five if they take the time to work for it.

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1 comment:

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    Daphne Sears Posts: 1

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