Junior Elena Gant walks down the familiar school hallway, passing the same classrooms that taught her the subjects she was about to be tested on. Wiping the sweat off her palms and onto her pants while attempting to remember anything and everything about her AP courses. As she gets to the door of the testing site, she takes a deep breath before finally walking in and taking a seat. Placed before her lies a daunting stack of paper. With a shaky hand and sweaty forehead, the time starts, and she embarks on her AP exams.
Miramonte is notorious for having anxious students, so with AP exams right around the corner, nerves will be higher than ever. Especially considering the blatant fact that over half of the school year has taken place virtually, which isn’t the same as being in-person. Alongside virtual learning, COVID-19 has also made it hard for exam jams – collaborative study sessions hosted by teachers – and other in-person studying methods to occur, meaning that students have to resort to different strategies this year.
“For math and macro, I’m making reviews of each chapter, but I don’t think the English or Spanish exams require any specific studying,” senior Mia Cohen said. “I feel pretty indifferent about the exams as a whole; however, I feel it is kind of unfair that our school year and education was compromised because of COVID-19, so we should get some testing accommodations in exchange for that.” Although virtual learning may interfere with how well students do on their exams, the best way to prepare at this point is to review the content of the year and study.
“I am pretty stressed about AP exams due to the fact that we were in distance learning for most of the year, but that just means I am going to be studying even more. I am following my teacher’s study plans, along with taking practice exams and doing extra practice questions,” junior Grace Clark said. The common route taken this year by students typically consists of following the study guides provided by teachers and reviewing areas of personal struggle.
“I didn’t take any AP classes last year, so this is my first year taking the AP exams. Because of online school, it was hard to fully learn and understand all of the content being taught, so in many ways, I do not feel fully prepared for the AP exams. Currently, I’ve been studying by doing practice tests and reviews, but I’m also starting to get tutors for each subject to help me prep even more,” junior Elena Gant said. Asking for additional help, outside of school resources, is another tactic that can be used to improve one’s chances at achieving a better understanding of the material, and in turn, scoring better on the AP exams. “I also think that teachers should not be assigning their AP students a final, especially days after they’ve just taken their AP exam for that class. I think it’s too much to ask and expect from students, especially juniors. Students shouldn’t have to be stressing about their final exams and AP exams at the same time because it may affect their performance on either, or both, of these tests.” Many students feel it is unfair to assign finals for AP classes, seeing as most students are taking their AP exams for those courses the week(s) prior. For these students, it can feel a bit redundant, overwhelming, and stress-inducing.
Elena looks up from her test for the first time in hours, as she’s told her time is up. Her incredibly tight grip loosens from her pencil, and she lets it drop to the desk. As she takes a deep breath and collects her things, a feeling of ease and fulfillment fills her chest; she knows that regardless of what her score is, she tried her best, and that’s all she could do. For many juniors and some seniors, this is their first time taking part in the AP exams, which can be stressful but is also an excellent opportunity to learn and grow as both a student and an individual. Even taking the AP courses is a success in and of itself, so everyone should already be proud of themselves. With that being said, The Mirador wishes everyone happy studying and good luck!!