AP exams

Exam season just finished here at Wahlert. These past two weeks saw a lot of people taking their finals. For others, taking an AP exam was their final.

Advanced placement exams are tests, typically taken by people in the corresponding AP class, that give out college credit for achieving a high-enough score. The tests are hard and long, but plenty of people still take them anyway. This year a small number of sophomores took the first AP exams of their careers. Others, meanwhile, have gone the extra mile and taken two exams.

Grant McDonald, Lucas Topping and Will Hoffman, ‘20,  are a few of those students. All three took both the AP Calculus and AP World History exams. They started their testing on Tuesday, with the calculus test and finished with the world history test on Thursday.

The calculus test was agreed to have been the hardest of the two for multiple reasons. The biggest was that this was their first AP test, and none of them knew what to expect.

The next reason was that the test itself is very hard. McDonald and Topping both agreed that the hardest part was the free-response part, explaining that it was hard to write about what they were doing.

On the flipside, all three did agree that the multiple choice was the easiest, even saying it was easier than parts of the world history test.

Overall, the calculus test was very hard, but they’re were happy to have taken it just to get the college credits.

That same week, they took the world history exam, which was significantly easier for them. On top of being easier, it also helped that they knew what to expect from an AP exam. They came with a prepared and anticipatory mindset, which really helped with taking the test.

Hoffman and Topping explained how to prepare for the test, especially for people who haven’t taken any yet. Their biggest advice was to take the practice tests. Taking practice tests can really help you get a feel for what the test will look and be like, especially if it’s your first time taking one. Participating in any class study sessions can also help. For example, the world history test had a night review the night before the test to look over and practice key concepts that would be on the test. Both the calculus and world history tests also had seminar review sessions that also really helped out.

Another key point from the two was being relaxed. “Just make sure to study and don’t worry too much. Just stay relaxed,” explained Topping. Being anxious for a test is normal, but don’t stress too much. The tests have limited time in each section, so freaking out is not ideal. Speaking of sections, Hoffman explained what to do for each part.

“Focus on the parts of a test that worry you the most. If you don’t feel too comfortable with the multiple choice or short answer, focus your studying on that,” said Hoffman.

All AP tests have multiple choice, short answer and free response questions. Different tests will also have other questions as well, like Long Essay Questions (LEQ) or Document Based Questions (DBQ) for the world history exam. Figuring out where you struggle and working on that can definitely help during the test.

As for why to take an AP test in the first place, the most common response was “to get college credits.” Getting a high score on a test, on a scale of 1-5, can be very rewarding. Most colleges will accept AP credits, and this can cut down on what courses students have to take in college. That alone could potentially save students a lot of money in college, a huge bonus. This why they recommend that anyone taking AP courses in the future take the test as well.