AP exam preparation while students are already looking forward to break


photo courtesy of Franco Alva from unsplash


Before high school students are able to enjoy summer break with its lazy mornings, warm weather, and fun activities, there are several things they have to stress over. Prom and all of its associated craziness, finals and final grades, and of course AP testing. 

AP testing is a ritual all AP students across the country go through. Beginning in April students begin to review all of the content they’ve learned in various courses on the first day of school . They memorize and learn the formats and rubrics in order to get a good score. On a point scale of 1-5, 1 being the worst and a 3 being the minimum score to be considered passing, months of learning and endless weeks of preparation are conducted with one idea in mind. The illustrious 5. 

This is how advanced placement students at Arvada West find themselves now. With testing taking place the first two weeks of May, it’s officially cram and review season. Many students attend review sessions and spend hours studying on top of their other homework and end of year preparations. Yet despite this ritual, there is another outlook going into AP Tests. 

Given that AP scores aren’t released until late July and therefore can’t affect class grades. Many students focus more on their performance in class and put test prep on the back burner. 

Senior at A-West, Kalissa Martinez says, “I feel like the exams I care about that could help me in college are important, but the ones that I know aren’t going to affect the classes I’m going to take I could care less about”.

This brings up another key component of AP classes. Many people take more than one AP class because it offers a weighted credit to their GPA, it’s more challenging and engaging than a grade level course or just because they think it could be fun. Martinez, for example, is planning to major in Business at Colorado University, but is taking courses from AP Macroeconomics, to AP Chemistry, to AP Literature. 

Martinez mentions, “I also take the AP classes for the credit and not the actual test, and care way more about my grade in the class” 

Another senior, Selma Hadziselimovic came to a similar conclusion, “I care because I don’t want to take classes again in college, but I don’t care because I’m just trying to get exposed before I actually get to college, so it kind of depends on the class”.

However, perceptions can change and modify as senior students struggle with senioritis. Morgan Roberts mentions, “I don’t really care about how I do on my exam, it would be nice to get a good score but I don’t care, and care about my grade in the class even less” 

AP classes, when compounded with stress of being a senior, and the stress from the pandemic seem to cause magnified symptoms of burnout. A set of circumstances that make the likelihood of studying or involvement in exams even less likely.

Regardless of how students are feeling going into exams and graduation the end of the year, and end of high school is rapidly approaching and with it will bring a turning point in students lives.