With Advanced Placement (AP) exams taking place from May 3 to June 11, students are beginning to feel the stress of preparing for exam season.
“It’s crazy to me how soon it’s come,” said junior Will Charlop. “I can’t believe we only have five weeks until the AP exams and the end of the year.”
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 AP exams will be offered either in person or at home. This school year, many of Grady’s AP students have struggled with the unique circumstances of online learning and new class schedules, which some worry may impact their exam performance. Students feel especially nervous for this year’s AP exam season due to the changes in schedule, class structure and environment.
“I’m worried about first-semester APs, especially because we haven’t covered the content in months,” said sophomore Haven Li.
Some students feel disadvantaged by being tested on material from almost a year ago.
“I feel like the staff had good intentions when they separated the classes into two separate semesters so that we could focus better, but still, I feel like it’s really unfair with the amount of time it’s been since our first semester classes,” Charlop said. “It’s not fair that Grady kids are given the burden of having their current class load as well as needing to find time to study our older courses for the AP exams.”
Many students feel that the adjusted schedule put AP students in an unfavorable situation and lowered their confidence, because they will have to relearn much of the material from the first semester.
“I’m honestly kind of worried, especially for two of my tests, which will be from my first semester classes,” Charlop said. “I’m definitely gonna attend the review sessions, but even then, I’m not sure if that can make up for three to four months without consistent review.”
Junior Izzy Friedman believes the online environment has made learning particularly challenging this year. Friedman feels “stressed” and “not prepared at all” for AP exams.
“After Covid, most teachers stopped fully teaching and just gave assignments,” Friedman said.
Charlop has taken advantage of the option to drop AP exams to focus on other exams whose material he feels more confident about.
“I do feel grateful for how it was made clear to us that we could drop exams,” Charlop said. “I dropped the [AP Physics 1 exam] because, honestly, I just don’t feel like I understand enough in that class. It’ll be better to spend time studying for my other exams which I know I have the potential to do well in.”
Despite obstacles, students are finding new ways to study. Junior William Wolgemuth uses Khan Academy’s free resources to prepare for exams.
“I use Khan Academy to study for science and math courses,” Wolgemuth said. “I would recommend it. I feel like it simplifies a lot of confusing and complex ideas.”
Overall, Li is frustrated with the overwhelming expectations for this year.
“It’s ridiculous to expect students to be held responsible for making up for the months of classes that didn’t cover the material that’ll be tested,” Li said. “I don’t plan to work myself to death trying to balance my current classes with work and my first semester classes. I would hope no AP students would do otherwise.”
Despite feeling discouraged, Li has decided to persevere and find ways to work around the challenges of this year’s AP exams. She hopes other students will do the same.
“Even though AP students are at a disadvantage this year, I don’t want to just admit defeat and go into my exams unprepared,” Li said. “I’d hope all Grady students know they have support and can do well in their exams despite being relatively predisposed to doing poorly.”