The AP exams are toxic for students

Collegeboard exploits students’ desires to achieve academic success for college applications with tests that inaccurately determine understanding.

Students+are+often+overwhelmed+with+the+idea+of+one+test+determining+their+whole+year.+

CREDIT: JESSICA TICOZZELLI | THE MIRROR

Students are often overwhelmed with the idea of one test determining their whole year.

The AP tests might be the worst thing that our school system has adopted. Think about it this way. Teenagers who want to go into prestigious colleges have to take APs relatively every single year. Not only are these classes extremely rigorous and stressful, your entire success in the class is based on a huge test that lasts four rigorous hours in May. 

Students are challenged on a significantly harder curriculum than normally provided by schools.  The tests have proven to be ineffective methods of analyzing understanding,  as many people are not good test takers. A student can get an A in an AP class and only a three on the test due to testing anxiety and stress. 

Now one may come to argue that students shouldn’t complain about AP exams considering they make it fully obvious how hard and rigorous the course is before starting. That claim may be true if not for these two reasons. 

Most AP courses are college level but are not taught like college courses. College courses have finals, midterms and big exams, but the AP test idea is the only one in which it can make or break the credit of that course. 

Do students really have a choice? Most students to go to a prestigious university, whether that be a UC school, a Cal Poly, a Tech school. However, for you to get into one of these universities, it is pretty much mandatory to take an absurd amount of AP courses, even ones that might have nothing to do with your major.

Now, AP exams have been a serious struggle, especially due to the return of in person learning after two years of online tests. Students have to get reused to the workload and manage their sense of time again. The Collegeboard has not been considerate of all students’ mental health post-pandemic. That being said, I believe that the exams should not be counted for students this semester towards their college applications since one could possibly expect students to perform as well as they used to before.

AP tests also place unfair learning standards. The exams test students on what the Collegeboard wants students to know, not necessarily what they should know for that course. A world history test tests students more on their writing skills and their format rather than actual information. This places an expectation of students to not care about certain parts of history since they might not be tested on it, when in fact that piece of history may be extremely important regardless.