Next Monday afternoon, my psychology students finally will take their AP exam. As you might imagine, we had a grueling week of preparations. Not just in my class. I saw bleary-eyed students arriving at 6:30 a.m. for review sessions with teachers in government and econ and history. And this is just what I witnessed. I’m sure there were students on the other end of the building cramming for bio, chem, calc, Spanish, and more. Plenty of study sessions broke out after school, too. When all the tests end in two weeks, a collective fatigue, which I already feel, will set in. 

This evening I had dinner with my daughter and her two college roommates. I mentioned the flurry of AP preparations, and having gone through the flurry themselves two years ago, they shook their heads and talked about how little the tests mattered. I’ve heard other high school graduates echo these same sentiments. 

While a big part of me agrees and views the tests as a public relations tool for high schools and profit for the test makers, I can’t help admiring the work ethic of these young people who are genuine in their aspirations, not only to get ahead, which seems refreshingly quaint, but also to enrich their lives. I’m proud of them and glad for the opportunity to play a tiny role in their success. And even if the bulk of the content is forgotten in a month or two, their arduous efforts will serve them well at every turn. 

Inspired by good friend and colleague Gina Enk, who has successfully predicted two AP test prompts, I made a few guesses on the likelihood of certain concepts appearing on the free response portion of the test. I don’t have a crystal ball and don’t have any inside glimpse, but I’m a competitive jerk, and I can’t wait to find out if my guesses pan out.



06/26/2012 12:15am

Hi, Tony- I found your blog tonight through Facebook and am enjoying the read. I am surprised that so many students felt that the tests did not matter- I was able to pass out of some college courses with the AP credit I got. I also got too low of a score on one test to gain credit, but I feel good for having tried. I am sure the care and assistance you showed your hard working students will leave its mark.


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