AP Madness!

AP Madness!

Abhi Sambangi, News Editor

The month of April is passing quickly, and as May approaches, the looming prospect of AP exams draws nearer. Juniors and seniors are challenged with the task of reviewing an entire school year’s worth of coursework to prepare for their AP tests. Sophomores and freshman may find the idea of AP classes intimidating as a future prospect for their academic careers, but hopefully this article can shed some light on all things AP.

AP stands for Advanced Placement. AP classes entail an exceptionally deep investigation of a particular academic subject. Academic subjects can vary from Biology to U.S. History to Statistics. Many ask “What is the point? Why take such a challenging class with a large test waiting for you at the end?” The reasons people take APs differ, but many students, including juniors Katelyn Masse ’18 and Andrew Kushnir ’18, are taking APs to challenge themselves and strengthen their academic abilities in preparation for college. Anna Landgren ’18 adds that she  decided to take AP U.S. History out of strong curiosity and to “surround [herself] with students who want to strive.” AP courses are often regarded as an opportunity to demonstrate college preparedness as these courses are designed by College Board to prepare students for college classes.

As AP exams are scheduled for the first two weeks of May, many students are nervous about the upcoming assessments. Kiersten Wood ’18, an AP U.S. History and AP Physics student, expressed concern about multiple choice questions stating that “multiple choice questions can be difficult because they try to trick you.” Landgren ’18 remarks that she is also nervous because she has to “memorize a lot…in a short amount of time.” However, seniors Ruby Lake ’17 , Kajsa Kirby ’17 , and Rachel Fonseca ’17 are more comfortable with the the test, explaining that “it’s more about meeting [their] own personal standards, rather than pressuring [themselves] to do well for college applications.” It appears that the level of apprehensiveness of different AP students varies based on their comfortability with the AP and their stage in the college process.

A distinctive feature of AP classes at Pingree is AP review sessions. Review sessions are set periods of time during which an AP class plans to meet outside of regularly scheduled class to become more prepared for the exam. The number of review sessions differs between classes. For example, AP U.S. History has scheduled four separate review sessions, while AP Physics has not met outside of class.  Wood ’18 feels that these extra class meetings can, “add unnecessary stress and use up valuable time,” although the “handouts passed out during the session can be really helpful.” On the other hand, Masse ‘18 thinks review sessions are a “good way to bring together the material and be with other students.” Teachers often require attendance for certain review sessions, but students are free to choose whether or not to attend all other optional review sessions.

Excluding special circumstances, every students registered for an AP class will take the exam on a predetermined assigned date. This year at Pingree, AP Environmental Science and AP Chemistry will be the earliest AP tests, commencing on May 1st. Anxiety for these exams is completely normal, but Masse ‘18 offers a positive perspective as she realizes “the test isn’t factored into our actual grades, and we don’t have to send them to colleges.” She is completely right as scores for AP don’t come out until the summer, and you can choose which ones to send to prospective colleges. Furthermore, after the AP, many AP classes become much more relaxed. For example in AP Physics 1, teacher Mr. Burt promised to stop giving homework after the AP. Students should look forward to results in July with the hope that they will be able to send them to colleges in order to strengthen their application or even score some college credit.