The AP Scare

An AP exam experience

Loralee Bandy, Staffer

Heart racing, hand aching, pen marks covering the skin, time is called on the essay portion of the AP exam. AP exams, taking place during the first two weeks of May, are infamous for the anxiety they cause for students. Taken in either the lecture center, library, or language lab, these exams cover material from year-long Advanced Placement, or college-level, courses such as AP U.S. History and AP Language and Composition. Many students find these tests overly stressful and intimidating.

As much as students study and teachers prepare them, the students may still find the exams difficult to complete. Scores for the exams are given on a scale of one to five, one being the lowest (not at all qualified for college credit) and five being the highest (extremely well qualified); a three is considered passing. Each exam has a curve so that, for example, a 60% could be a five on the AP Calculus AB exam, and a 74% could be a five on the AP English Language and Composition exam.

Ap reg 1“I actually stayed home the Monday before my test so that I could study,” junior Caitlin Seifert said. “When I got into the test room,  [the AP Calculus BC exam] was way easier than I expected because the class was far more challenging.”

When beginning an AP exam, students are herded into their testing centers and explained the rules, including that all cellphones must be powered off and put away. Each student must adhere to all rules and come prepared with a No. 2 pencil as well as a pen with black or dark blue ink. Time warnings are given, and after roughly three hours the exam is finished. Provided that students survive the testing process, they may receive their scores online via College Board in July.

“I just wish that I got a three on the exams, because I know that’s passing,” junior Devika Kattula said. “Just having four exams, especially three in the first two days, was really stressful.”

Although the process may be brutal, students take the exams for a reason. Scores of three or higher typically earn college credit, which can save a student lots of money and time after high school. Hopefully we can all endure the experiences on exam day to reap the possible academic rewards of the future.