SPFHS Students Give a Piece of their Mind on AP Testing

Photo+Courtesy+of+Flickr.com%2C+user+Cory+Doctorow

Photo Courtesy of Flickr.com, user Cory Doctorow

Charlotte Gumpel, Culture/Entertainment Editor

Even as the school day continues as usual, time seems to come to a still for students taking AP Exams. The first two weeks of May mark AP testing, officially beginning the slew of end of year exams. Students cram the night before their exam, reaching out desperately for any piece of information that might have slipped through their fingers.

AP Exams are 8 months in the making; it’s a culmination of an entire school year’s worth of homeworks, notes, tests and projects. However, Scotch-Plains Fanwood High School students are finding it harder to focus on AP Exams as the end of the school year is quickly approaching. With the weight of final exams, final grades and even SATs and ACTs, AP Exams represent a looming commitment. There’s even the social boom in the spring, such as prom, spring sports and club commitments. Those exams can feel like a golden ticket. A 3, 4 or 5 on an AP Exam means earning college credit while in high school. It’s a means of getting ahead, but at what cost?

“I think AP classes are important because they do show that we are capable of taking a college level class, but I don’t think the exams are an accurate representation of what we have learned,” junior Christina Wang said.

With this school year leaning more towards “normal,” (in comparison to the last year, at least), AP Exams are a daunting reminder of the rigor and expectations that seemed to dissipate with online learning. It’s hard to adjust to longer exams, handwritten essays instead of typed ones, and not having a computer at the tip of our fingertips whenever we are stumped. 

AP Exams were administered in-person last year, but many online-only students missed the opportunity to test. For a large number of juniors and seniors, this is the first full-length, “real” AP Exam, which can be stressful but it is also an excellent opportunity to grow as both a student and individual, and go out of your comfort zone. Taking the AP course is a success in and of itself. Sitting down for a four hour exam and remaining timely, knowledgeable and calm is no easy task; one that takes an abundance of mental energy and concentration.

“[AP Exams] are too long,” junior Ava Bilotto said. “It was a feeling of satisfaction when I was done taking them – I felt prepared. But it was mentally draining.”

Whispers of AP Exam reflections and opinions circulate, Yet, a palpable relief seems to have spread across SPFHS students. With no need for cramming or manic studying, hopefully students are spending the next few days. recuperating and relaxing. While the whirlwind of AP Exams begins to dwindle, it has become easy to get swept up into the soul-crushing pressure of getting a perfect 5, when scores are released in July. However, no matter the score, students should be proud of their dedication and efforts. In this horribly complicated and uncertain school year, there is much to be proud of.