Students ask for varied AP test preparation


Applying knowledge: Advanced Placement (AP) Literature teacher Deborah McDonough prepares her class of seniors for their AP Exam.

Jacob Sykuta

For Advanced Placement (AP) .students, these past two weeks have marked the culmination of their year-long efforts as they have begun to take AP tests, trying to earn college credit. Along the way, teachers talked about how it’s important to take notes during class and pay attention to the content so that students will be better prepared for the rather intimidating exams.
Something not all teachers think about is students don’t learn the same way and remember things using the same technique. Greg Irwin, who teaches AP World History, does his best to meet the needs of each student but admits the difficulty.
“We direct all of our coursework toward preparing and doing well on the AP test at the end of the year,” Irwin said. “Teachers take into account that every student learns and succeeds differently, so we try to teach in a way that has benefited the most students. If kids need extra help, we are always available.”
Students often use their AP classes as a way to look better to colleges instead of for the education itself. The mentality of using an AP credit to look good on résumés approaching the test as a way to enhance their learning, plays a direct role in the time and preparation that high school students spend studying for the test. Junior Connor Squellati is one of many students that have this mindset.
“I see the test as an opportunity to make myself seem like a better applicant for colleges,” Squellati said. “I still do all of the work that the other students do; I just do it for a different reason.”
[quote cite=”Connor Squellati, junior”]“I see the test as an opportunity to make myself seem like a better applicant for colleges,”[/quote] Junior Kevin Kiehne, who is taking the AP Calculus BC, Economics and U.S. History tests, has a mentality between both of those. He enjoys learning about new topics at a higher level; however, he also sees AP exams and classes as a way to improve a college application.
“Rather than using my class schedule to make myself look better, I take classes that I care about and that I can use the information from later in my schooling. Some of these are AP courses, but more often than not, they aren’t,” Kiehne said. “Although I only take the AP classes that I am interested in, I still use the credit to my advantage. It’s hard not to.”
Kiehne uses this idea about picking AP classes that he enjoys in the way to go about studying and preparing for the test. His studying begins once the class starts first semester. He pays attention all year, not during the week before trying to cram and memorize. He says this philosophy has brought him success.
“I care about the information that I’m learning throughout the entire school year. This makes it so that I don’t have to do any week before cramming. I just stick to my normal routine,” Kiehne said. “I truly learn the knowledge all year long, so that come test time, it’s easier for me, which helps me stay relaxed and confident the whole time in preparation for the test. In the end, I think that’s the reason why I have gotten a five on every AP test taken so far.”
Sophomore Kavin Anand approaches the test in another way. He uses what he’s learned throughout the year, yet also crams the information that he is still unsure on.
“For me, the best strategy is to pay attention in class, take notes and do my assignments throughout the year,” Anand said. “But on top of that, the last week before my test I cram as much of the information as I can so that I can have even more repetitions with the topics in order for me to do the best I can.”
Both of these strategies have proven successful. It’s just up to each student to figure out which way is best for them. Kiehne and Anand have received fives on every AP test they have taken and are shooting to earn more high scores in the years and classes to come.
“In the end it’s about the student and their needs,” Kiehne said. “It’s all up to them about how they choose to study and prepare. If it pays out for every student in the long run, then that’s all that matters.”