AP exams have unnecessary difficulties

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AP exams have unnecessary difficulties

Trey Henderson, Editor

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As the two-week testing period passes, Advanced Placements are coming to a sigh-relieving close. All the strenuous, arduous months’ worth of work finally culminate into one place, one test that takes around three hours to complete. Sure, these tests can award college credit, which in itself is a fantastic opportunity, but such standardized tests aren’t entirely reflective of a student’s capabilities.

Students can prepare for every possible section of content in the class but still feel blindsided by any number of questions on the exam. During class periods, students feel ready and prepared for the test as it approaches, at least in most classes, due to the absurd amount of review and in-class preparation for the exams. Many classes go over multiple choice questions, free response questions, and also just review concepts to prepare for the test, but even then a question can show up out of nowhere on the test and destroy a student’s test score. Even though the student is well-versed in the topic, odd questions still pop up that stump the student despite them knowing the content. Some of the test questions on the AP exam are absurdly difficult and bring up obscure material which creates a discrepancy between the score a student gets and how much the student truly knows about the topic.

Another way that these tests don’t end up showing a student’s true opportunity comes with the structure of the questions themselves. Often times, questions on harder forms of tests are worded in a peculiar, and oftentimes, hard to understand way. AP exams are no different; they all share questions that are hard to derive meaning from since the instructions and question at hand are so muddled and convoluted with unnecessary words and information. Additional information is almost always added to confuse the test taker, and the way in which the sentence is structured offers no help, typically making the information harder to find, interpret, and understand. Despite a student knowing the class’s concepts, confusing questions often derail students that have a chance at scoring well on the test. This difference between showing what a student knows and a possible resulting score from confusing questions show how AP exams can often throw off knowledgeable students.

In all, AP exams offer great opportunities to gain college credits, but don’t always reflect the abilities of the test taker. Some questions are insanely specific, while others are worded in confusing ways. The tests make unnecessary difficulties that can create a divide between what a student knows and how they score.

 

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