On AP Exams: This Is What Everyone Either Thinks or Should Think About the College Board’s Pride

By James Cassar
Near the beginning of the dreaded two-week AP exam period, there was a poll circling around Facebook. It read: “Which AP exams are you planning to take this year?” Among the more popular choices that students (and myself) take like AP Psychology, AP Biology, and AP US History, there were thousands of people signed up for the AP Music Theory and even the AP Japanese Culture and Language exams.
Is it just me, or is the College Board capable of testing higher knowledge on everything? This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, with more people enrolling in these ‘advanced placement’ classes every year and with the growing competitiveness of colleges requiring challenging courses. However, it’s not usually the class that burns out students, Mr. Dean of Admissions, it’s the exams.
Let’s start with the $50 price of entry per test. That’s pretty steep for many students at Tuscarora, with juniors piling on the AP courses in an effort to better their chances come the college admissions game. Sure, we’re taking a university-caliber exam (and in some cases, multiple), but that’s a little unfair. I guess pushing yourself in high school does come with an actual price!
Most AP exams are comprised of multiple parts, usually a multiple-choice section and a ‘free response’ section that varies by subject. This racks up time fast – with exams usually hovering around a duration of three to four hours. This can prove to be quite a drain on students’ bodies and brains – and the 15-minute break that bridges the gap between Sections 1 and 2 is usually populated with frenzied phrases usually similar to “I failed,” or “Did we even learn that?”
However, there’s a light at the end of this arduous tunnel. Advanced placement classes transform into ‘advanced procrastination’ classes at some point after the test, filling class periods with movies and other brain-soothing activities. In some cases, projects take the place of a redundant final exam.
So it’s not always bad. Tusky plans to offer many more Advanced Placement classes next year like Chemistry, Economics, and Government, so it’s never too late to broaden your horizons and foster your potential…for fifty bucks a pop.