Each May, students all around the nation are united under one stressor: the AP exams. DGS is no different. The exams will run from May 4-15 and during this time nearly 570 students will be taking a variety of over 20 different tests. This year DGS has drastically changed their approach to the AP exams.
For the past few years the library has been used as the main place for majority of the testing. However, this year the administration has decided to move the exams to the Small Gym.
Assistant principal Vince Walsh-Rock explains why they decided to relocate the exams.
“What really caused us to change was because we have so many more tests. The advantage of that is [that] the library is free because that’s instructional space that kids need. The library just isn’t big enough for every single test. We will still use the classroom A100A classroom in the library, but between that and the gym that’s about it,”
With a $91 price tag on each test, many students, such as Junior Savannah Bell may feel an added pressure to perform well.
“I’m taking the AP Language and AP Psychology tests. I’m a little nervous because they cost a lot of money, but I’m pretty confident that I’ll do well since I am getting A’s in both of the classes,” Bell said
The multiple choice components of the exam are scored electronically, while the free response and essay portions are scored by trained readers every June. Students can expect to access their scores around July through College Board.
As the exams begin approaching students have a plethora of ways both inside and outside of school where they can prepare.
Many AP classes are offering after school review sessions for students who took the class first semester. AP Psychology teacher Paula Kenny explains the concept behind these sessions.
“We started our review sessions the second week of April with a session in the morning and after school. The review sessions use strategies that take into account how we learn or remember. We don’t reteach, but there [are] different kinds of review strategies,” Kenny said.
“Every chapter my students have to do the famous AP psych note cards for vocabulary because it’s like learning a new language. The notecards are all based on educational psychology research on how to learn. Even though kids don’t like them, I explain that this is based on how your brain learns the best,”
Aside from receiving college credit and saving money, the exams have numerous other benefits to them.
“Research exists that provides evidence that taking the AP Test in addition to taking the AP course increases performance in the commensurate college course,” Walsh-Rock explained.
Although seniors may be less than a month away from graduation, the AP exams are still one of the last, crucial tribulations of high school.
Senior Kevin Panthaplackal explains why the tests are important to seniors.
“AP tests are important for me because I want to get credit for all the hard work I put into the class this year. Also, I want to save my money and time in college,” Panthaplackel said
With the exams right around the corner Kenny has some last words of advice for students.
“Do not cram. There’s lots of evidence that tells us that when we cram, we’re not making connections, we’re just reading over it [and] it doesn’t go into our long term memory. It just goes into our short term memory for a couple of seconds and then it’s gone. We know that cramming doesn’t work because it’s very stressful and stress gets in the way of memory too,” Kenny said.
She recommends having enough time to prepare, getting good night’s sleep and eating healthy.
“Don’t eat something in high fat and sugar content because that’s going to gum up your brain. It interferes with the brain activity and it’s just not as efficient. This means that the impulses don’t travel so it slows you down and affects your concentration. So eat a decent breakfast, get some sleep, [and] walk in with a positive attitude.”