All high school students in the US taking an Advanced Placement [AP] course will be taking the College Board AP Exam for that course sometime this week or next. Right now, when this is scheduled to post, thousands of students across the country are working their way through the AP Chem exam.
In our household, AP exams mean the past few weeks have been filled with drills (notes painstakingly detailed by Mod Squad Julie, drilled by M.S. Dad*), mock exams, and study sessions with classmates.
Many of the AP teachers have offered review sessions on Saturdays, giving away their own weekend time to help their students.
High school students and their parents tend to have a love-hate (or even hate-hate) relationship with APs. For students aiming for a selective college, if their high school offers AP courses, they’re a necessity. Most admissions officers will cite the importance of students taking the toughest course load available to them.
Students and their parents may stress about how well the student will do. Students and their parents may stress about how many AP courses the student needs to take.
- See College Connection’s Escape from the Planet of the APs for a Q&A on how many to take.
- See the UNC University Gazette’s Study finds that more AP classes may not be better, which suggests that UNC says five is enough.
This year, for the first time, our high school’s guidance department offered an introductory session on APs for parents, providing an opportunity for questions prior to next year’s course registrations. Kudos to the counselors for that.
There’s much more to be said about APs, the cost, the opportunity cost, whether credit should be provided — more on all of that to come.
For now, good luck to the students taking APs this week and next. M.S. Julie has two exams this week and one next Wednesday. And with that, the highest stress points of her junior year will be behind her. I think.
* Note added to clarify: any and all drilling for these and other exams is instigated by M.S. Julie, not either of her parents! We have been known to recommend reviewing to her brothers, but Julie is the one, so far, who takes advantage of the opportunity.