AP Exam Stress

AP exams are right around the corner. For both teachers and students, exams often come with plenty of stress.

“ I think [students] are stressed at exam time, but in some ways, it is a relief knowing it is coming to an end soon,” said Karen Collins, the AP teacher of both AB and BC Calculus.

Aside from the exam portion, many AP curriculums are stressful in themselves. Although stress and AP classes tend to coincide, neither are impossible to overcome for Lindsay Barnes, an avid participant in AP courses.

“I’ve taken three in the past, plus the four I’m taking now. I’ve passed two of the three AP exams I’ve taken. It was difficult because of the volume of work I had to do to get the grade,” Barnes said.

Some students take more than one AP class at once. This means multiple exams placed side-by-side, usually very close in proximity in the academic calculator.

“It’s really difficult when the exams are within a day of one another. You really have to prioritize,” Barnes said.

More often than not, the preparation for AP exams can be long and strenuous. The idea of certain students taking multiple AP classes simultaneously should not dilute the stress these classes, and their exams, so often come with.

“The difficulty of exams really depends on the course and how well the teacher prepares,” Barnes said.

A solid portion of class time is typically spent in preparation for the exam. Although the amount of class time spent is partially dependent on when the exam is on the academic schedule, most teachers can agree that adequate preparation is important.

“Exam prep begins the first day of school with a free response from an old exam,” said Collins. “As we get closer to AP exam time, we begin a three-week review ‘Boot Camp’ with daily practice and nightly homework by topic– students have a take-home test, and will also take a full AP exam in class the last week before the real exam,” Collins said.

Students aren’t the only ones who stress. AP exams put a lot of stress on teachers as well.

“I sometimes feel stress around exam time because I want students to do well,” Collins said.  “Because of all the work students have put into the course, I want them to be able to walk away with college credit.”

AP exams are a common concern among students. However, doubt Barnes might have towards AP courses comes only from the difficulty of the class — not the difficulty of the exam.

“I’ve been reluctant because the class was hard, but not because the exam was hard,” Barnes said.