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Stress? Not a Problem for AP Testers

Eliza Racine, The Bark Reporter

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It is that time of year again that many students of Sobrato dread as tensions rise: AP exams.

 

The Advanced Placement program offers college-level classes which give a GPA boost and can count for college credit. The high scores of the AP exams give the college credit, saving time and money in college.

 

However, these courses are incredibly rigorous with difficult and time-consuming homework, projects and tests. Since the AP tests are administered a month before the end of the school year, teachers only have nine months to fill their students’ heads with the information necessary to pass the exams along with summer assignments just to keep up. The time wound fastly for these exams, but not all students are worried.

 

Students at Sobrato get their first opportunity to take an AP class in their sophomore year with AP World History, or WHAP. Sophomore, Adrianna Scalzo, views it as just another class only with more homework and more students to study with. Her teacher set up a regimen on what students should study every night. Scalzo purchased her own guide for the AP exam which she has been studying from for the past couple weeks.

 

“Don’t procrastinate and do your work, because if you don’t it will hurt your grade,” Scalzo said. “Don’t stress yourself out. You’ll do the best that you can and you shouldn’t stress over it.”

 

Michael Le, senior, took three AP classes this year: Statistics, English Literature and Physics. He took five AP classes in his junior year to speedily get out of college classes as well as get a grade boost. However, he does not recommend taking five AP classes at the same time because of the overwhelming stress.

 

“Four is a good number,” Le said. “You should take three to four max in your senior year.”

 

This year, Le’s teachers offered him and his classmates practice AP exams and after school study sessions. He really wants to pass the Physics test to help him in college for a major in computer engineering.

 

Not only do students work tremendously hard for these exams, but teachers are also in charge of making sure their students have the study habits to pass. AP English Language teacher Kim Stubbe used the whole year as practice for the exam for her juniors. She even planned ahead with the recent Common Core testing. Stubbe practiced parts of the test with her students while also giving them work in vocabulary development. She suggests practicing for the test every week, avoiding procrastination and buying AP practice books for the course.

 

“You need to have it in your brain that you will spend forty minutes outside of class working,” Stubbe said. “It’s like training for a marathon.”

 

With these “training exercises,” Stubbe also recommends doing all the assignments and class activities with full effort. The key to success in an AP class is having a routine to study every night.

 

“The ultimate success in an AP class is the desire to discover the best in yourself,” Stubbe added. “You have to be willing to persevere through the challenges and stress.”

 

As apprehensive as these times have become, some students are still able to keep level heads about balancing studying for the exams and homework from the other five classes. Yet there are many students on campus capable of taking AP classes who choose not to. In a survey in the beginning of the school year, principal Deborah Padilla and her colleagues found factors around why students do not take AP. Most of the reasons is the lack of communication and knowledge about the courses and the lack of support to be successful. Padilla hopes to change that next year so everyone can get the personalized information they deserve and emphasize that the opportunity for a good education, regardless of whatever score they receive.

 

“Learning is work and challenging yourself,” Padilla said.

 

No one can ever know in advance what is on the exam, but panicking can lead to forgetting all the information learned in the past year.

 

“Have confidence in yourself,” Padilla added.

While studying for the AP exams appears stressful, the hard-working students and teachers have plans to be sure that all of the testers do the best that they can.

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Stress? Not a Problem for AP Testers