The good and bad of AP season: yearly review


Photo by Andrew Chan

Various WCHS students feel the stress of APs.

By Allison Jacobs and Andrew Chan, News Editor and Sports Editor

AP season marks the time from around mid-April to mid-May when preparation for AP exams goes into full swing, with teachers handing out review guide after review guide, and the cramming begins for many. AP season also means that stress is going to be a constant feeling when thinking about the classes and exams that have to be prepared for.

There is a lot that helps students prepare for AP exams that prevents panic, however there is also a lot that just causes more stress and concern for students. The Observer has made a list of the best and worst things about AP season.

The Good

Though AP week is always stressful, there are still some bright spots that help to make it a bearable experience. Here are a few of the things that help keep AP week reasonable.

Thrive Club
Throughout AP week, the Thrive Club held mental health initiatives during lunch. These initiatives involved many different activities such as yoga and meditation. Though these events only lasted an hour everyday, they were great at helping students relieve some stress. AP week can take a huge toll on a student’s spirit, and these simple initiatives by the Thrive Club helped many students greatly. The events were held in spirit of Mental Health Awareness Week and had a definite positive impact on WCHS students.

Lighter Workload and “Chill” Classes
Though it may not seem like it at times, some teachers often tried to lighten the workload for students during AP week. Many teachers were aware that students are stressed, so they attempted to make sure that they assigned simple tasks. Students miss a lot of class time during AP week, and the last thing teachers want to do is to overswamp them with various different make-up assignments when they return.

Teachers often played movies for classes as a fun little break day from all the stressful work. Other teachers would assign simple mini-projects rather than stacks of homework. Additionally, most of the content that was taught in classes was reviewed the next day for students who missed class time due to APs testing. These temporary changes in the workload and day-to-day activities greatly helped lighten many WCHS students’ burdens throughout AP week.

Additionally, even non-AP teachers were trying to make things easier for students during AP week. These teachers would hold chill classes without much work involved in order to lighten the workload during AP week.

Service Dogs
How could anyone forget the loveable puppies roaming the WCHS hallways during lunch? Throughout AP week, many service dogs were brought in to help boost the overall morale during AP week. Students could come up and pet the dogs and get a little break from all the stress. The dogs were sweet and provided some comfort for anyone who felt a little overwhelmed by the testing.

The Bad

A lot of students have similar issues when it comes to preparing for AP exams. The Observer is here to point out some of the most common issues students face.

Stress is probably the most common issue during AP season. This is not surprising considering how much time and preparation goes into getting ready for the exams. Whether it is your first AP or your last, there is always a focus on scores being the sole reason that one will get into college.

However, the pressure that is put into studying for the exams and that is put on students causes extreme stress because everyone wants to be perfect. However, being perfect is really hard and if students cannot get the ideal 5 score and they get anything less, there is a sense of disappointment and failure, that keeps the stress going, when it should have ended after all the exams were taken.

“It’s really easy for me to get stressed while I’m studying for the exams,” sophomore Holly Shimabukuro said. “But I always remember that if I’m getting stressed, to take a step back and calm down. I’ll normally take a break from studying to help me relax.”

Some students like to watch TV or grab a snack, while others prefer to read a book or play a game on their phone. Whatever works for a person, is what they should stick with.

While teachers definitely help with preparation, a lot comes to light where teachers lacked with helping students prepare.

“While I was studying, I would find different terms or concepts that I had just never heard of,” Shimabukuro said. “It was really frustrating because I was learning new things so close to the test, and I was trying to review not learn new stuff.”

A lot of students face similar problems, whether they have to learn a new vocabulary word or they have to teach themselves an entirely new concept. Many students feel that there are certain concepts teachers miss and find it frustrating because they have to worry about new things before a big exam that they should only be reviewing for. This just adds more additional stress for students before a very important test that they want to do their best on.

Other Classes
The last main source of negative energy during is work from other classes. Many teachers or classes in general provide excessive amounts of work during AP season. This forces students to spend less time studying and preparing for their exam, and spend more time working on busy work for other classes.

“I found it really annoying when I wouldn’t have enough time to study as much as I wanted because I had to work on something for else for a different class,” Shimabukuro said.

If teachers could recognize how much work was going into to studying for these huge exams, and lighten the workload for just a few weeks, a lot of pressure could be taken off of students. They would have more time to study and it would allow students to be less stressed in the long run.

What can you do?

The Observer recommends a few things. First of all, take a step back and remember that these scores do not define you as a student or a person. It does not make you more or less smart and it does not decide whether or not you will get into your dream school. Keep that in mind as you prepare.

Next, take some deep breaths and take breaks when needed. It is okay to step away from the studying for 10-15 minutes and then keep going. It’s actually recommend to take breaks while studying so that students do not get bored and forget what they are learning.

Lastly, remember that you can do it. AP season is only a certain amount of time and it will be over before you know it. Try not to get stressed and just think about how satisfying it will be when all the testing is done.

“For everyone taking AP exams, I would just tell them that they can do it and to remember that everything will be okay, because it’s really easy to get caught up in the stress,” Shimabukuro said.