A Project for Better Journalism chapter

How prepared are students for AP tests?

How much onus falls on the student to have prepared themselves when they don’t think they are being prepared by their teachers for AP exams? This is a question I have been asking myself as testing week has begun.

As I have headed into multiple tests myself and many peers can agree that we do not feel extremely prepared for our tests, and it has to do with how the teachers are preparing us. They don’t necessarily want to teach to the test so they have their own lesson plans, but it is them trying to change things up that makes students feel rather hopeless on test day. Now some students are brilliant and no matter what the teacher does, or how much studying they do, they will do well on the test. And that is what the teacher expects. For the rest of the students like myself, I feel like I have had AP questions thrown at me all year which is what needs to happen. But alongside that I need to be learning what the test wants us to know at the same time, and that is not exactly happening.

Teachers in a majority of my classes teach useful information, and I learn important material. Though it is not that material that is needed for the test. Also, a majority of the time, class time is wasted during the hour and a half class period. Teachers always act like they have so much content to stuff down students throats, but the content they are giving us is useless. It is just fluff when it is thought of in terms of what is needed for the test.

Now it of course is not all our teachers faults because they are doing the absolute best they can. I think the major problem is, if you are an AP teacher your students can’t afford to stray from a solid path that teaches to the test. Many kids that are taking these AP tests are students that want to be challenged and want credit for college. And they can’t get the credit they need if the class they are taking, the main source of information for the subject isn’t actually providing.

More onus should also fall on the students because they absolutely do not prepare as much as they should. They could study more for the test throughout the year, but they don’t. They rely on what they have been learning all year to carry them through the test. By the time students get to the test they usually don’t try to cram very much because they know what they know for the test, and that is it.

I think that there is a vital link broken between teachers and students. The students are expected to do all of this studding on their own, which is fine and expected in an AP class. Though on top of that they are being given so much extra work on subjects that won’t be on the test because their teachers don’t specifically want to teach to the test. That is understandable because the teachers want their students to actually learn something other than facts that they will never use again in their life, but that is their “flaw” in the situation.
From what I have seen during my high school experience with AP, is that there is still plenty of growing to be done. There is still much to be figured out by teachers and students on how to master these tests, and the way to approach them.