The Upcoming AP Exams

Justin Oei, Staff Writer

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Many juniors and seniors here at OP opt to take Advanced Placement courses for a multitude of reasons running the gamut from wanting to get ahead on college credits to exploring deep interest in the subject to choosing it because it was the only English class you could fit in your schedule. Whatever the reason, students in AP courses, not only at OP but also across the nation, undertake a rigorous study to meet the same end goal: taking and passing the nationally-normed Advanced Placement Exam at the end of the year. While the AP exam is simply meant to ensure that the students in advanced courses have the knowledge that would be expected of an undergraduate in the same class at the collegiate level, it often leads to trepidation in the days and months leading up to the exam. This week, I interviewed several OP juniors to see how well they feel they are preparing for the exam and how they have been preparing.

Out of a survey of five juniors (the survey was sent to more—as of press time, not all responses are in), there are thirteen exams being taken between those surveyed. Of these, students thought that they had prepared the best for the AP US History exam as, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being most confident, the average confidence level was 9/10. It tied with the BC Calculus exam, where the one student surveyed taking BC Calc indicated he also had a confidence level of 9 for the Calculus exam. The exam for which students felt least prepared was for the Chemistry exam, where the average confidence level was a mere 2.5/10.

I also surveyed how students were preparing for the exams; it became evident that the students concurred with the College Board (the national organization administering the tests) that the best authentic preparation for AP exams is by doing well in the corresponding class. One sentiment, however, is that students wished that they had more of an opportunity to hone their multiple choice skills, as one student stated: “I feel History and Calc are especially well prepared, and English [sic] is going well, but I will need more multiple choice practice to adequately prepare for that portion.” Another student indicated that he thought that while class was going well, he would need to independently prepare more on his own, noting that he prepared thus far “Just going to class and doing the work, and I think with more studying as the date of the test gets closer, I will be able to do well on one of my exams.”

Ultimately, nationally-normed standardized tests are just a fact of life that high school students must acknowledge as sadly necessary. But OP juniors seem to be grabbing the ram by the horns as they take charge of where the future leads.

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