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As the weather heats up and teens begin fixating on summer plans, some students find it difficult to stay focused and finish school on a high note.
Graduation is just around the corner and freedom from homework, notes, tests and projects await the juniors and sophomores.
But before the seniors can walk and the other students can throw their notebooks in the air, one task still looms in the distance: AP tests.
From May 7-18, students who have signed up for AP testing put their knowledge to the challenge and attempt to get college credit. The tests are graded on a scale of 1-5 with a “3” on the AP exam as passing. Most colleges require a 3 or higher before giving a student college credit while other colleges require 4’s or higher.
Sophomores in David Graham’s World History class will be taking their first AP exam ever and anxiety is a constant companion until the test, whether it be about taking the test itself or because they do not feel ready.
“I’m not extremely nervous [for the test],” sophomore Kira Kirk said. “I feel extremely unprepared because I didn’t do the class the ‘AP way.’ At this point, I’m taking the test just to take and see how well I do.”
Students like Kirk only have one school year to prepare for the test and the AP exams demand in-depth knowledge about everything in their subject. In order to perform to this standard come test day, Graham inspires his students to perform at their highest throughout the year. Known to his students as the “AP way,” Graham pushes his students to do their best work on each assignment given in class.
“He [Graham] has the faith in us to put in the work that we want to get out of the class.” Sophomore Ginny Tharpe said.
Another one of his tactics is to make the class stressful enough throughout the year so when students walk into the test, they have the notion it wasn’t as hard as expected, Graham said. However, there are some AP tests that begin two years before the test date.
“AP Art 1 helps you prepare your portfolio and create your breadth pieces which are required when you send your portfolio to the AP board,” senior Shawn Crouch said. “AP Art 2 is where you work on your concentration and you have to make 12 pieces that are centered around one central idea and theme.”
Senior Bre Alridge feels that because of the progression of the AP class, AP art is not as hassling as other AP classes such as U.S. history or chemistry thanks to her teacher, Sharon Hyatt-Wade.
“Our AP test is definitely less stressful, mostly because we have Mrs. Hyatt-Wade,” Alridge said. “She is a phenomenal teacher and the way she allows you to think and do pieces helps make them really personal.”
No matter the amount of time, preparing for AP tests is always the most nerve-racking part of an AP kid’s year. AP tests are not apart of the student’s overall grade and are optional, so even those who signed up to take the tests struggle with finding motivation for study for the exam, such as senior Emily Perry.
“I don’t feel as motivated [to study] because I have already determined where I’m going to college and I am so ready for high school to be over,” Perry said. “Since I’m a senior and ready to leave for college, focusing on studying for the AP exams is difficult and I haven’t made it much of a priority as I have in previous years.”
By: Jessica Jost