The month of May- a time of joy, frolicking in meadows, sniffing flowers, and… misery? To some, May might seem enjoyable, with school winding down and sunny weather beginning. To others, however, May is the most stressful time of the year. Why? Because as May comes around, hundreds of students go into battle. Their enemy? Three-hour tests known as the Advanced Placement Exams.
For those who haven’t been acquainted, the AP exams test students’ knowledge on a variety of subjects such as Chemistry, Literature, Biology, and Environmental Science. After taking rigorous AP classes over the past months of school, students are geared up and ready to go (most of the time) for the exam in May. While these tests are not mandatory, they are encouraged; exemplary scores on the exams can provide students with college credit as well as teacher commendations. Of course, this only makes the anxiety for students prior to the exam more severe. As first time AP-test taker Anneliese Israel says, “I’ve been cramming for the exam for about an hour and a half every night for two weeks.”
As with any battle, students need training, and in this case, they receive over eight months of it. Teachers each have different approaches. While some prepare their students directly for what to expect on the exam, others teach skills related to the subject with the expectancy that their students will use those skills on the exam. These methods tend to be effective. According to Richard Zhang, a senior AP veteran who has taken 13 AP classes, “UD’s AP classes are generally pretty hard and rigorous… It really does help you get prepped.”
The battle itself is exhilarating and requires stamina and agility. After all, it consists of three hours straight of pencils bombarding paper, deep breaths and intense thought. As Max Spiegel, a distinguished senior put it, “Long AP tests measure endurance as much as knowledge.” Students must be at their absolute best to not be overwhelmed by their opponent and fight through the struggle. However, they will have to wait a few painful months for the results.
Post-battle, life is sweet for AP students. Many cruise through their AP classes for the remaining month or so of school, with teachers often only assigning projects. Students will find out their results in July, and will hopefully rejoice in their sweet “number 5” victory. Regardless of score, many of these test-takers will have next year’s AP classes to look forward to, and the battle will rage on…