May is generally known as the month of family. With various holidays and special dates celebrating family, May is by far the best time for family picnics and outdoor activities. But May is also stressful for many high schoolers: AP exams are happening!
During the first two weeks of May, 2.7 million students across the country will take 4.9 million Advanced Placement Exams – the culmination of their hard work in AP courses throughout the school year. The word “AP” stands for Advanced Placement: a program in the United States and Canada created by the College Board which offers college-level curricula and examinations to high school students. A wide variety of AP curricula include math, science, history, social studies, language, music, and many more.
Most highschool students take AP classes in their sophomore year to senior year to increase their competence for college admissions. It is definitely an excellent way for students to prove their dedication by the fact that they’re challenging themselves beyond high school curriculum. According to an article from Cappex, “The more AP tests you take and succeed at, the better your application will look.” Also, it saves students time in college since taking AP course and passing it gives them college credit for that specific class. High scores can exempt you from college courses you don’t want to take. Therefore, scoring high on the AP test is well worth the effort!
The way this program works is that the AP exam, which is taken near the end of school year in May, determines a student’s eligibility to receive college credit. The scoring is based on the scale of 1 through 5: 5 being “extremely well qualified”, 4 being “well qualified”, 3 being “qualified”, 2 being “possibly qualified” and 1 being “no recommendation”. Many colleges and universities grant credit and placement for scores of 3 or higher.
However, be advised that AP courses are high level education and are designed to be challenging. It requires a lot of studying and testing, so it is paramount to exercise wise time management skills. An average passing rate, the probability of students earning a score of 3 or higher, is about 50 to 60 percent. Some exams have very low “5” rates of below 10%, including Physics 1, English Literature, Environmental Science and Biology. When planning for enrollment in AP classes, it is significant to be ambitious, but also to know your limits.
For AP students, May is a month of examinations, being tested on what they’ve prepared all year for. The added pressure to perform well on these exams can cause a lot of stress. Here are some tips for those struggling with APs: Review the past years’ exams and practice with numerous AP prep books. Be sure to take advantage of all the AP resources that can be found on the official College Board website. Read up on articles created to boost healthy study habits. Come up with an organized study plan and stay on track.
As Thomas Edison said, “There is no substitute for hard work.” It’s not going to be easy, but it is certainly going to be worth it. Good luck!
Goeun Lee, Grade 10
Larchmont Charter School