AP exams

As the days have started to become longer, the temperature outside has began rising, and the seemingly endless countdown of school days left has reached a tangible number, the atmosphere of "almost summer” has started to fill the air. For many students, however, there is still one challenge that they must face before they can enjoy the excitement and freedom of the summer. That challenge is AP tests, which will occur throughout the first two weeks of May. Every year, several Ames High students decide to enroll in Advanced Placement, commonly referred to as AP classes, and, every year, many of those students decide to take the College Board’s nationally mandated AP exams. Although that number of students varies slightly from year to year, last year, 331 Ames High students took a total of 652 AP exams. Currently, there are fifteen AP classes offered at Ames High, all of which have very different structures. Although most of the AP classes are taught in traditional classroom settings, designed to educate students on the subject material and prepare for the national AP exam, there are a small number of classes that do not fit this norm. Fourth-level foreign language classes, for example, include an AP option. Also, AP Statistics is an option given to students as an online course. Although there are several incentives for enrolling in AP classes, and for taking the national exams, there a few that are the most motivating for students. “Benefits of AP classes?” asks sophomore Bo Fan, who has taken four AP classes. “College credit [from the AP tests]. As to the exams, I would recommend taking them, because you’ll regret it if you don’t.” Sophomore Marios Tringides, who has taken five AP classes, agrees. But college credit, he says, is not the only motivation for students to take AP classes. “I’m glad that I have taken AP classes in high school,” Tringides said, “because they provide a challenge, and go more in-depth into the material.” Because AP classes cover subject material much more thoroughly than regular, or honors classes, they inherently have more work attached to them, and a higher difficulty level. These factors, however, should not be a held as reasons to not enroll in AP classes, because, as senior Anima Ghimire, who has taken 11 AP classes in her high school career, says, “anyone with some degree of aspiration and work ethic should not hesitate to enroll in an AP class. While college credit is a great incentive, students should also realize that AP classes enrich the high school experience. With great teachers guiding you along, AP classes are not as intimidating as they are made to be.” For those students who have already made the decision to take the AP class, and exam, there is not a clear-cut path to success. There are, however, several methods that can help in test preparation. Tringides recommends to “space all the material out so you don’t end up having to cram everything the weekend before, and find a summary book so you don’t have to re-read the entire textbook.” “It is hard to set goals and follow through without determination, but AP exams dictate sacrifice,” Ghimire says. “I started the second week of April, and have since devoted at least an hour to studying for my exams [daily]. Also, test yourself consistently for improvement and practice. There are plenty of tests online and you can easily borrow an AP Study guide from Student Services, the public library, or from your teachers.” Succeeding on AP Exams, however, may not even be that complicated. Fan’s advice for success is quite simple. “Don’t stress, bro,” he says.