“Happy AP testing, and may the curve be ever in your favor.”
Good morning! If you’re reading this around the time I’m posting it, then you must be one of the lucky people not taking an AP exam this morning. I’m not either; in fact (don’t hurt me), I took my one exam yesterday and I’m now finished with them entirely.
It’s not that I didn’t take a lot of AP classes. In fact, I took four this year, three last year, and two as an underclassman. But most of the classes I’m in are core classes of my college major, so I’ll need to re-take them anyway.
But, enough about me. Happy AP Exams, everyone!
To cater to my non-high school readers: AP Classes are college-level versions of courses you can take in high school. You take a college-level exam at the end of the year, which is graded on a scale of one to five. Scores of 1 or 2 mean you fail, 3-5 are passing and you can get college credit at most universities.
I dislike quite a few things about the AP Exams. For one thing, they’re ridiculously expensive. The College Board owns the SAT’s, PSAT’s, AP Exams, and pretty much everything else a kid needs to get into a good university. One of my former teachers once called it a “legal monopoly,” and I agree with that.
For example: In order to take an AP exam, the cost is $89. That’s per kid, per exam. For someone to run a scan sheet through a machine and to put a single number on a handful of essays, without any comments. To take the SAT’s, $50. To have the SAT and AP scores sent to the colleges you apply to, it’s another fee per college, per test. I would say you have to pay for postage, but the scores are all sent electronically. So, where the heck is this mystery money all going? For goodness’ sakes, the College Scholarship Service Profile—which is a College Board program meant to help students earn financial aid from universities—costs a fee!
But, I’m not here today to rant about the College Board. Just the exams they provide. AP Tests aren’t the worst thing in the world, but they do inspire a certain level of dread amongst high schoolers, particularly ones who are taking multiple exams. I got off easy this year by only taking one (AP Psychology), but last year I had three in the same week and was in a high state of stress.
So, two years ago in tenth grade, shortly before taking the AP U.S. History exam, my friends and I made a list of tips for freshmen who were preparing to take AP tests next year. I figure I should post that list here, to help calm anyone’s nerves.
And yes, as you might have guessed, this list is incredibly sarcastic. Enjoy!
Tips to Succeed on AP Exams (Especially U.S. History)
- Wait as long as possible to begin studying. The night before is an excellent choice.
- Be clever. If it asks, “what was the low point of JFK’s Presidency?” Put something like, “Getting shot in the back of the head.”
- On every Document-Based Question, simply write “See Document.”
- Always second-guess yourself. Your gut is never right. EVER!
- Be “fashionably late” for the set testing time. “8 o’clock sharp” is just a figure of speech.
- Freak out over the test. It helps ‘stimulate your brain juices.’
- Don’t sleep the night before. It’ll get you going on “Emergency Power,” which is much more effective than a regular good-night sleep.
- CRAM. Read only the words in bold. (Why do you think they’re in bold?)
- When the teacher says, “give me your cell phone,” don’t fall for it.
- Snort Smarties.
- When you’re done on one section, go ahead and move to the next one. Don’t worry about the seal that says DO NOT BREAK.
- Spice up your essay with a little creativity…write out the lyrics to Rebecca Black’s Friday, for example.
- Once you’re done with the test, stare directly at the teacher and hum the Batman theme as loud as humanly possible so as to entertain the test takers.
- If you don’t know the answer to a free response, let the proctor know this by promptly tearing your answer sheet in half, then eating it.
- There’s a typo in the directions. You’re supposed to use pen only on the ANSWER SHEET and only pencil on the ESSAYS, not the other way around.
- If you become too frustrated while in the middle of taking the test, it’s appropriate to stand up and scream, “I HATE MY LIFE!” Don’t worry; the teacher will laugh.
- If given the question “What do Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Gandhi have in common?” be sure to answer with something off-the-wall and clever, such as, “None of these three men has ever been in my mother’s kitchen.”
Once again, this list isn’t to be taken seriously, though that last item is based off a real answer my teacher received on a test one time. Happy AP exams, everyone!