AP tests are a stress-inducing boon

With May’s arrival, many Nashua South students’ stress levels are soaring.

The season of AP exams is in full swing – and students are already toiling under the tension that the tests entail. In a frantic attempt to receive a score that will enable them to get college credit, students are scouring prep books, tearing through flash cards and reviewing course material rigorously.

Students recognize the necessity of AP exams; they can help students save thousands of dollars in college tuition.

Kunal Shah, who graduated from Nashua South last year, saved around $15,000 in tuition at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. However, the stakes are high – each exam costs $95.

With the prospect of saving huge sums of money in the future, many students take little heed of what they must pay to take several AP exams. Even so, the high costs heighten the pressure students face when taking their tests.

Members of South’s student body say the tests are a source of tension and horror. Tenley Mazerolle, a junior at Nashua South, said she is "stressed, but hopeful that everything will go well."

Rajvi Parikh and Fianna Ton, a sophomore and freshman, respectively, agreed, saying they are "nervous and stressed."

The strategy for studying for these tests is similar for most students: AP Prep Books, especially Barron’s and The Princeton Review, are a necessity.

Flash cards are an efficient way of reviewing important concepts and vocabulary, and taking practice tests helps students to improve their test-taking pace.

Unfortunately, for most AP tests, the course curriculum is so extensive that it is nearly impossible to absorb all the required information.

Richard Beaumont, the AP Biology teacher, was teaching new course material until the day before April vacation. As a result, many students in the class had to review a sizeable portion of the course over vacation.

During the two-week AP testing period, classes are devoid of several students; they take so many different exams that there rarely are days on which everyone is present.

Regardless, AP teachers are using class time to prepare students for their upcoming tests. Kimberly Montine, the AP English Language and Composition teacher at South, said practice and familiarization with exam content are the best ways to succeed on the exams.

"I try my best to get the student viewpoint," she said, referring to her method of noting the difficulties her students face and addressing each of them.

AP tests are undoubtedly a huge source of stress in a student’s life, but the benefits of taking a class outweigh the detriments. The work ethic gained and vast quantity of knowledge learned in an AP course is certainly worth the two weeks of stress in May.

Ankita Devasia is a freshman at Nashua High School South.