AP testing season is almost here

AP exams will take place at Bowie during the first two weeks of May.

April 19, 2022

As Advanced Placement (AP) exam season approaches, fear looms over students. With AP courses in several topics ranging from World History to English to Physics, the stress placed upon taking these exams begins the very first day of classes and only increases as the year progresses.

AP exams will take place at Bowie during the first two weeks of May. The exams are used to assess if students are proficient enough in a subject to earn college credit. If a student earns a three or higher on a five-point scale, they are eligible for college credit. While the test can help students earn credit for their upper-level studying, it can also be a stress factor for many Bowie students, including junior Savi Kulkarni.

“I’m really nervous because I’ve heard that AP physics and AP US History are some of the hardest exams,” Kulkarni said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself because I want to test out of these courses and get college credit.”

According to the UCLA psychology department, forty percent of students experience testing anxiety. This can interfere with performance and cause students to score considerably lower than their academic ability. Factors such as time and lack of confidence play into students’ results on standardized testing.

“I am the most stressed about the time,” sophomore Emma Philips said. “There is a lot of information from many different time periods in the World History course. Doing a lot of multiple choice questions and writing different free response questions in one test is a lot to do in one sitting.”

The end of the school year is packed with tests including AP exams, STAAR tests, and finals. Teachers acknowledge that AP testing can be a stressful time with students wanting to perform well and earn credit for AP classes. Many Bowie teachers, including AP World History teacher Carrie Hoffman-Howell, have been spending the year slowly preparing students to feel confident during the tests.

“My biggest piece of advice for all the upcoming tests is to just breathe and relax,” Hoffman-Howell said. “Check track and be aware of the time and trust that you know the material. Some kids get so stressed out and it only ends up hurting them.”

While a lot of stress can be detrimental to performance, healthy stress has some benefits. According to the Teens Health organization, anxiety leading up to a test can actually motivate students. Reviewing material and fully understanding the content can address the anxiety while also calming it.

“My teacher gave us some tips having to do with time management which were really helpful,” Philips said. “We were told to not spend so much time stuck on a question since we only have one minute per question on the AP world history exam.”

For students wanting to feel more prepared leading up to the exam, AP classroom has many resources including practice tests and helpful videos. Khan Academy has also released videos on topics for various AP exams. Spacing out study time weeks prior to the exam can ensure that all of the content is covered and not crammed into a short amount of time. The College Board recommends studying in groups for optimal information retention. Youtube can also be a good starting point for overall course refreshers.

“I took the AP World History exam last year online, and I hardly studied for it,” Kulkarni said. “This year, I feel like I have better time management and know more study techniques. I am going to study to the best of my ability and hope to pass.”

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