A nightmarish test can make a dream come true: AP exams

Students+may+register+for+AP+testing+through+College+Board.

Citlali Viramontes

Students may register for AP testing through College Board.

Citlali Viramontes, Reporter

Despite stress, all-night studies and high expectations, students are fast approaching what may be the most dreadful three hours of their lives: AP testing. This week, students are preparing for AP exams, which will determine if they earn college credit or not, after a year of investment.

In contrast to regular classes, AP classes require students’ full commitment in order to be prepared.

“AP classes are rigorous and intense,” AP Biology teacher Ramon Benavides said. “Students need to make time to review and study the material [on their own]. It requires an extra effort on their part to be successful.”

Like most AP exams, Benavides’ subject exam is three hours long and divided into two sections.

“[There are] 90 minutes for 60 multiple choice questions and 90 minutes for the Free-Response Questions,” Benavides said.

Some students are uncomfortable with AP classes and the upcoming test.

“I don’t think any of us are prepared to take the AP test,” senior Abel Ochoa said. “We still are in a pandemic, people are still getting infected, and we still aren’t learning the way we are supposed to.”

There are complicated feelings about exams not being shortened like they were last year due to the pandemic.

“[College Board doesn’t] really care about what the students have learned or what they have gone through,” Ochoa said. “All they care about is making money.”

Others aren’t bothered by the changes due to past AP testing experience.

“I have done the best I could all year long, so I just have to trust myself and my knowledge during the exam,” senior Yatziri Lopez said. “I have taken multiple AP classes before so I just expect it to go like the past exams.”

Preparation is ongoing in AP English IV.

“My teacher has given me enough assignments and resources to help me the day of the test,” senior Daniela Esparza said. “We have been typing timed essays and taking practice exams.“

AP prep sessions are ongoing as well.

“For Calculus, the prep sessions are mostly reviewing the material or taking a mock test,” Lopez said. “In French, [they] mostly consist of us going over different parts of the exam and looking at students’ examples.”

AP Biology students are nearly done with learning, and will soon have to put their knowledge to use.

“We are wrapping up the material, and then we will begin reviewing for the exam,” Benavides said. “We are trying to make it to the end and hope for success.”

Although there’s a lot being taught, there are still a few weaknesses to address.

“[Teachers] could definitely give us more detailed instructions on our assignments because sometimes I feel like the instructions are too vague and leave us with many doubts,” Ochoa said.

Students will have two testing options: online or in-person testing.

“I think testing [in person] is unsafe since we are all together, and wearing a mask might not let you concentrate,” Ochoa said.

In-person testing may have its perks.

“I will be testing in person because I’ll be [more comfortable] about being able to look through the test to revise my answers once I am done,” Esparza said.

Feeling prepared or not, teachers are aware of students’ hard work and dedication to their AP classes.

“Our students have been so resilient. I have learned more from them than they have from me,” Benavides said. “The way they have risen to all challenges and persevered is beyond words. Our students are simply the best.”

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