AP exams bring major stress to students


Trey Henderson, Editor

Preparing for any test is nerve racking, sure, but preparing for an Advanced Placement (AP) exam is its own beast. Reviewing an entire year’s content is no easy task, but with the layers of complexity and anxiety that the AP exam brings, it takes things to a whole new level.

One reason for the fear surrounding the difficult test is simply for the fact that it covers an entire year’s worth of high-level content. In the span of a few hours, one test is meant to track a student’s proficiency down to every minute detail, but the information being learned was spread out over months of arduous work. This much condensing of content is almost dizzying since students are overwhelmed, not knowing what all they need to study. There’s a possibility that they might have to call upon an oddly specific detail from the start of the year.

The addition of complex, hard-to-understand questions makes the test that much harder on top of the already strenuous content. The questions leave students wondering what’s really being asked of them. While preparing for my AP Calculus BC class, I often find myself wondering, “Do they want me to take a derivative or an integral?” The wording of the questions makes the test confusing and thus harder for students who know the content, but not the ways that the exam asks for answers. Even on the way into the testing room, students feel confident and sure of themselves and their abilities, but the second the test is opened and the first question is read, all that built up confidence is lost in the confusing syntax.

In all, the AP exams allow for helpful shortcuts for college credits while still in high school, but bring loads of stress to masses of students across the nation. With difficult and confusing questions, combined with tons of content to have memorized, the AP tests that come around every May scare many innocent and intelligent students unnecessarily.