AP Crunch Time

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

People say “April showers bring May flowers,” but certain students associate the month of May with something else - AP Crunch time. According to College Board, “AP Exams are rigorous, multiple-component tests that are administered at high schools each May.” In other words, an AP Test is a cumulative assessment of the material students learn in an “Advanced Placement” Course. Chatham High School does not provide AP Classes for every AP Exam possible, but the school provides a range in AP courses. AP Courses at CHS include AP Studio Art, AP Physics B/C, AP World History, AP Spanish, French, and German, and more. For most AP Exams, a score of 3 is passing, and certain colleges will accept certain AP scores for college credit. Now one may think the AP Exams are brilliant, money-saving exams, but this time is referred to as “AP Crunch Time” for a reason.

Each AP Exam is rigorous and has variously structured sections. Although the test covers material learned in the AP class, prep is essential in many cases to pass the exam. AP Exams include multiple choice sections, essay sections, FRQs, DBQs, and speaking and listening sections for AP Language exams. A student’s experience taking his or her first AP exam will help them understand how much they need to study for future AP Exams. One upperclassman describes the AP US Exam as “the most nerve-wracking, yet rewarding test [she] has ever taken.” A whole “AP industry” has been created to provide students with AP Prep books that help students understand the test, provide practice questions, and provide a review of the material the AP exam is going to cover. These books have been very helpful to certain students who take the time and effort to prep, but may not be as useful to upperclassmen who may not want to study for AP Exams as rigorously.

Despite the prep that goes into the weeks before AP exams, more factors contribute to this “Crunch time.” These weeks can be some of the most stressful weeks of the year because students still face routine class work, homework, and extracurricular schedules with the added weight of studying for the encroaching AP Exams. Nonetheless, AP teachers motivate their students to understand the different sections on the test and perform the test to the best of their ability. The exams have both pros and cons; therefore, an upperclassman concludes, “You gotta know going into it what you are getting yourself into.”