How was the 11th grade AP test experience?
By: Daniela Pineda, Alexis Martinez, Karina Estevez, Esmeralda Gonzalez
The month of May was the beginning of Ap testing for the 11th graders whom got their first experience in taking college level exams. Two week long AP test sessions filled with stress, pressure, and anxiety would determine if they receive college credit or not. Juniors who prepared for these test all year long with heavy amounts of homework, classwork, and AP sessions have now to face the real exam. As they took their first AP exams which were: AP U.S History, AP Spanish and AP Language and AP they will begin to reflect on their performance and methods for future AP exams in order to receive a close to perfect score if not a perfect score. We asked the juniors if their AP preparation was helpful in completing the actual AP exam and how their overall experience taking a college level course turned out in the final weeks of the school year.
AP classes are offered in high school in order to give the students a little taste of what to expect from a college course and they also used to retain college credit allowing the students to save money. These classes are extremely challenging for some students and relatively easy for others. Many students believed that AP U.S History (APUSH) was one of the most difficult classes and had the hardest AP exams compared to AP Language and Composition and AP Spanish. Junior Jonathan Gonzales gives us an insight on his performance relating to the APUSH exam, he thought it was both “tough and easy” and that is current history teacher, Mr. Sandoval, could have provided more material such as practice exams to allow him to become more familiar with the exam itself. Yet, he explains that he was “Expecting the worst” but “didn’t think it was going to be easy”. Gonzalez felt something he wished to improve on the test would be time management. Similarly with another student who took the APUSH exam, Ashley Ibarra said that she wished she took the class seriously but says she still got the help from one of the practice exam Mr. Sandoval provided with which gave her the sense of the test. She adds that something that could have helped her in preparation of the test is to not copy homework and not procrastinate. At this point many of the juniors had the tendency of procrastinating for the last few months before the AP exam in which it could have affected their work efficiency during the exam. Regardless of the juniors flaws, both Gonzalez and Ibarra advice that those who take the college level course next year should read everything since every little detail is important and pay attention and do the work that Mr. Sandoval provides with.
Another exam that the juniors prepared for a year long was the AP Spanish exam. All the juniors who attended school in regards of taking practice exams on Saturdays were to experience their first AP exam of the week on Tuesday, May 2. As for his first experience, Christian Garcia was upset that it did not go well. Garcia explains that there were a lot of technical difficulties in the portion of the “Conversacion Simulada” in which many had to record themselves and give responses on what the speaker said. He said that with this problem he had to stay more time and record 3 times. During the test Garcia felt “Alright and calm” since he believed that the Saturday sessions helped a lot. He recommended that the juniors for next year who are planning to take this college level class, should come to every session that Ms. Medina provides which is every week on Wednesday and at least one Saturday per month in order to help them ready themselves for the real exam. On the other hand, some students found the test relatively easy for their taste. Wendy Medina believed that the Spanish teacher, Ms. Medina “over prepared us” with the various practice AP exams. Adding onto what Garcia had said, Medina states that she was nervous with the recordings since she felt that the topics were hard to understand, due to her lack of capability to break down the question. Medina agrees with Garcia’s advice to the following 11th graders taking the AP Spanish next year, to attend the all the AP study sessions on wednesdays and the monthly practice exams on Saturdays in order to guarantee their success in the real exam.
The AP Language and Composition test finalize the long and stressful AP exams period for the juniors. Most junior agree that the AP Language and Composition test was the most stressful because they felt the pressure of getting a high score on this test due to the reason that it was the last AP test. The students were able to prepare for this exam by attending the AP study sessions that consisted of a wide variety of multiple choice questions and essays. Under the pressure of obtaining a high score many students felt frustrated and felt that they did bad on the test. For instance junior Nancy Reyes said, “In my head I was like, you need to pass this, but I was also relief that it was my last test”. The overwhelming feeling the majority of the students had caused them to not put as much effort on their last exam. Reyes also stated that the test had gotten her so nervous that in the middle of the test she had become so overwhelmed because there was some questions that she didn’t understand. Reyes gave us an insight that she wished she could have “pushed herself more” because she believed that her performance was done poorly. Most students agree that Mr.Pickering did prepare us for the exam because he provided us with many practice essay during class time and also gave them a few of the multiple choice exam. Some advice given by Nancy is, “ Use as many strategies that are taught and don’t rush, use time your wisely”.
Overall, the AP exams have been a long dreaded effort for AP students the entire year. In the long run, there’s no doubt that all their hard work would’ve paid off and most students were able to pass with a decent score. Even if some managed to fail the exams, the benefits and experience gained from the entire course should be more than enough to prepare for college and know what to expect. There’s really no downside, besides the stress and hard work of course, when it comes to taking an AP class and attempting the exams at the end of the year.