AP classes cause stress


Students are spending more and more money of supplies for AP tests. “I bought books for all of my AP classes,” John Speed said. “It cost well above $50.”

Every advanced placement (AP) student has the same fear – the cumulative AP exam at the end of May. Teachers stress the importance of preparing for the exam, and many encouraged extended amounts of studying time. Hundreds of students every year take over the over 10 AP courses Decatur offers, and everyone studies for the AP exam in different ways. This article explores unique ways some of Decatur’s students prepare.

The Crammer: John Speed, a junior at Decatur, pulls out his AP Language and Composition study guide a week before the big exam. “Although I try hard on all the tests and the class work, I don’t begin studying for the AP exam until the week of the test,” Speed said. “I understand that I need to do well in order to earn to earn college credit, but with sports and other activities going on in the spring, I can’t really find the time.”

The Planner: Other student take a more strategic plan for studying for the AP tests. Lane Turner, another junior at Decatur, maps out her whole study plan before she opens her textbook. “I reviewed two chapters [for AP U.S. History] every night. Two nights before the exam, I also made a timeline about America’s entire history and studied from that,” Turner said. “The night before the exam, unlike the last couple of weeks, I didn’t do anything and just hung out with friends. At that point, I figured I wasn’t going to learn anything else.”

The Perfectionist: Clare Lombardo began studying for her three AP exams well before most students at Decatur. “I spent hours preparing for the tests,” Lombardo said. “I worked really hard so I could ensure that I my score was a four or a five. I really want college credit for some of these classes.”

Many teachers at Decatur agree that Lombardo’s strategy for preparing for the AP exams makes the most sense. For a student to really master the material, one must begin reviewing sooner than later. Lombardo also did something many of her peers chose not to do. “The night before the test, I made sure I studied for hours,” she said. “It helped me feel relaxed and confident the next day.”