Debating between Princeton Review or Barron’s. Frantic searching for old unit packets or test reviews. Taking review quiz after review quiz after review quiz. Writing countless practice FRQs. For students enrolled in AP courses, this is in their near future.
Every May, the College Board administers 38 different AP exams. These standardized exams are compiled to measure how well students have mastered the content of the course. A successful score, typically a 4 or 5, could result in earning credit and advanced placement in college.
AP exams are two to three hours long and contain two parts. The first part of the exam usually consists of multiple-choice questions. The second part is comprised of free-response questions (FRQs). Depending on the exam, FRQ responses could be administered in the form of an essay, a solution to a problem or a spoken response.
Preparing for and taking these exams can be stressful. Junior Ashley Slud took her first exam last year for AP NSL. “Going into the NSL exam I was extremely nervous. However, I was more prepared than I realized, and my teachers really helped get us ready,” Slud said.
After completing teaching the course content, teachers guide students to doing their best on the exam. They provide review guides, supply practice FRQs, give review quizzes and more. The content of AP classes is cumulative, and is geared towards the completion of the AP exam.
While studying for these exams is imperative, it is important to manage the stress that coincides with standardized testing. There are myriad ways to relieve stress.
Exercise is a popular way to reduce stress. Junior Arian Nyandjo takes breaks from homework and studying to go to the gym. “Whenever I feel overwhelmed with schoolwork, I go to the gym. Taking a break allows me to calm down, and when I get back to my work I feel so much better and work more effectively,” Nyandjo said.
Similar to going to the gym, sports practice is another opportunity for students to have a recess from stress. Sophomore Ron Berlin breaks from stress by going to his club soccer team practices. “Being with my friends and doing something fun helps me feel less stressed and motivates me to complete my homework afterwards,” Berlin said.
Spending time with friends and family is also beneficial in relieving stress. “I always feel so much better after hanging out with my friends because they always are able to help me forget what I’m stressed about and have fun,” Slud said.
Other ways to alleviate stress are playing with animals and listening to music. In addition to reducing stress, these are all known for improving moods. In the guidance office, there is a therapy dog, Hart. Playing with Hart is a relaxing, enjoyable and easy way to relieve stress.