Students push through AP tests

Art+by+Emily+Franke

Art by Emily Franke

Emily Franke

Art by Emily Franke
Art by Emily Franke

After a year of AP learning, students gaze at the final element of their course during these first few weeks of March.

Columbia Public Schools offers more than 20 different Advanced Placement classes with corresponding tests. These courses cover a diverse expanse of topics, from the core, reading, writing and math,  to music, art and career based studies.

“They’re all a little bit different,” senior Jacob Freyermuth said. “There’s just different things for all of them because they are trying to test different skills.”

Freyermuth, who took AP World History, US History, English Language and Calc BC and who currently takes AP Statistics, Chemistry, US Government and Comparative Government and English Literature, experienced the unique qualities of each test.

AP courses are not all cut from the same cloth; for art students, the AP program includes a first year that utilises a variety of media and concepts and a second year that takes a more concentrated approach to a certain concept.
“The AP program for art is different because it’s split into two years and in order to get AP credit the students have to take both years,” Abbey Trescott, art teacher, said. “They have to submit a portfolio instead of taking an actual test. The portfolio is digital for the most part.”
Students in AP Studio 2 must submit 24 pieces; 12 go to the first-year portfolio and 12 go to the concentration portfolio. Besides this, students must send five works to the college board and submit an artist statement explaining their concentration, Trescott said. These portfolios were due on Friday May 10.
“It was definitely hard to get my art done plus my other school work. I do not regret it at all. I learned a lot about managing my time. I ended up getting it all done and turned in Tuesday,” said senior Paige Selman, whose portfolio was due by Tuesday, May 7.
The art wing is not the first opportunity students have to take an advanced placement test, however. During AP registration, over 80 sophomores signed up to take the AP World History exam on Thursday, May 16. These sophomores took the class as part of their blocked history and English course.
The teachers of the class, Katherine Sasser and David Graham, say the two disciplines work well together and as a way for sophomores to try their hand at advanced placement.
“Both departments believe in common skills so these common skills help us drive the integration,” Sasser, an English teacher, said. “It looks different on different days and we integrate novels and we integrate historical content, we integrate projects and all different kinds of things but in all of that we try to make the connection between language arts pieces and social studies piece.”

Also integrated into the class is a sense of creativity in learning. Graham, who is responsible for the social studies component, said the class takes the latest educational philosophies to bring into the classroom.

“We learn through different experiences and like different processes that they created on their own,” sophomore Alex Carranza said.
But in the back of students’ minds is the culmination of the class with their first AP test. One of the activities students participate in, Hallowed Education Learning Legacies (HELL) week, provided opportunities to practice the AP Exam. According to sophomore Maddy Mueller, the HELL Weeks are modeled exactly after the test.
“I feel like I know the essay rubrics really well, and I know kind of what to expect on the multiple choice from the textbook and also the tests that we’ve taken,” sophomore Maddy Mueller said.
For AP World History, and a number of other advanced placement tests, the test takes place in two parts- a timed multiple choice section and a timed written response section. Students are allotted 50 minutes to complete the multiple choice and 40 minutes to write each of the three essays, which respond to a continuity and change over time, a comparative and a document based question prompt.
“I feel like I’ve learned better how to be a leader and like how to deal with different types of people in groups,” Mueller said, “and also how to take initiative on my own and I feel like I’m a lot better at not procrastinating after taking this class.”

 Freyermuth, who took AP World History as a sophomore, agrees this class helped him with his future classes.

“I think that the teachers do a pretty good job of giving you a little bit more than you think you can handle just to show you that you can,” Freyermuth said. “I think that was helpful in taking a bunch more ap classes in the next years to have that experience.”
AP European History, which holds its test Wednesday, offers an alternate perspective to historical events by considering the essence of time periods in Europe.
“There are ideas that have shaped and caused the change in Europe over time. Those ideas are still around today, they look a little different, but they still have like implications for our lives,” said Matt Dingler, social studies teacher, who said the course is a class on ideas.
Even after high school, the college level courses benefit students in multiple academic ways, Dingler said. He said high school is a safe place for students to experience a difficult course before college and that teens who take AP Euro as their first advanced placement class may find the workload overwhelming. Dingler takes this opportunity to help students so that, in college, they are set up better because they freaked out and learned from their experience the year before.
For sophomores, especially, the skills and exam entailed by the AP World Studies course grant experience to those who prepare for their test come Thursday.
“I actually feel pretty relaxed. I think the class has prepared me and I’ve done all I can do myself, and I’m pretty much just going to let whatever happens happen,” Mueller said.
By Emily Franke
Have you taken Advanced Placement courses? What are your tales of testing?