Adventures in AP Testing

May 3, 2024 — by Caitlin Stoiber
My contagious coughs irritated my tablemate and made it hard to focus on my test. 
 As AP exams are set to start on May 6, here's a pro tip: Don’t take an AP exam with a 101 degree fever. 

During the month of May, a plethora of exciting events are happening around campus: prom on May 18 (a highly anticipated high school cultural phenomenon), my birthday on May 9 (obviously the best day of the year) but also — and most tragically — the month includes two weeks of dreaded AP testing. 

AP exams: a terrible, nervous breakdown-inducing, yet somehow addicting activity students here can’t stop indulging in. 

Whether it be just for one AP course or five, AP testing is already bad. An entire year of rushed material is crammed into one, grueling multi-hour test. Students are forced to figure out a way to remember concept after fact after formula on top of their other AP classes and extracurriculars. 

My worst AP test experience by far was last year during my AP Computer Science A exam, where every bad thing was somehow so much worse

It was May 3, and I restlessly sat down in the Small Gym with dozens of others to take my exam. 

I was nervous, sure, but my main problem — the real crux of the whole thing — was that I was unbelievably sick. 

I’m not saying the occasional sniffle or cough. I’m talking full-blown phlegm croaks coming from the depths of my chest. I was sneezing every two seconds and my nose resembled a waterfall with the amount of liquid rushing out. My throat was sore, every breath came out a dry wheeze, and my eyes were puffy and red. 

Needless to say, I was not in optimal health to be taking the 3-hour test, and I was desperately trying to focus. 

Not only did I have a 101-degree fever, but I also kept trying to hold in my coughs, after having already used my pre-given, societally acceptable three-cough limit, and I wasn’t trying to draw any eyes. 

It didn’t work. 

My coughs echoed throughout the stuffy room and my sniffles were the only sound in an otherwise silent testing area. I could tell other students were getting peeved. I kept getting annoyed glances from my table mate, his eyes rolling when I got up for the thousandth time to get a tissue. 

After the test was over and we sat waiting to be dismissed, everyone teased me about how obnoxious I was. All playful comments, I’m sure, but that didn’t stop the embarrassed flush that covered my face and neck. 

I went home exhausted, ate some chicken noodle soup and promptly fell asleep for the next 20 hours. 

Although testing was a nerve-wracking experience, ironically, being that sick meant that the test itself wasn’t the worst part of my experience.

So as AP testing starts up yet again, if you feel yourself getting the sniffles, remember to cough as loudly as you want and don’t fear what others might think. Because even though your health matters, let’s be honest — the most important thing is getting that 5. 

Tags: AP test, cold
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