Hundreds of students prepare for AP exams

April 14, 2009 — by Albert Gu and Kevin Mu

Starting May 4, 441 students will be taking 919 AP tests at Saratoga, representing a slight increase from last year when 417 students took 905 individual AP Tests, according to College and Career Center personnel Bonnie Sheikh.

Although students taking APs take only an average of about two tests, some strive to take as many as possible in order to gain college credit. Despite an increasing pressure on students from parents, peers or themselves, assistant principal Brian Safine said he believes most students are taking APs for the right reasons.

“Students who have gone to college and come back to talk to me about the benefits of [taking] the AP have made good arguments,” said Safine. “It helps keep them on track for college graduation. In some cases it allows them to double major or helps them get into a study abroad program. The students who [take APs] usually cite good educational reasons rather than strictly parental pressure.”

Although the school offers a wide variety of AP tests, some tests are offered at different schools in order to reduce proctoring fees if only a few
students are taking them.

“Of course I wish it were held at Saratoga,” said sophomore David Zeng, who will be taking both Physics C exams at Lynbrook High. “But it’s not that much of a hassle for me because Lynbrook makes it easy. A lot of students take tests there.”

Students prepare for AP tests in a variety of ways, including practice tests, preparation books and other study tools.

“Practice tests are the most useful study tool,” said senior Paari Kandappan, who will be taking five AP tests this year. “Just read the books to be prepared. [The AP material] is really different from what you do in class. It’s a lot easier, but it’s also a different skill set, so practice tests are really important.”

Whether students take AP tests to further their educational goals or simply to test their knowledge, APs undoubtedly play a large role in high school life.

“Many students at Saratoga High look for ways to challenge themselves,” Zeng said, “and the APs are one way to do this.”

But as the AP Tests quickly approach, many students must cope with the stress of preparing for them. There is a constant fear of failing and affecting their chances of getting into and succeeding in college.

“I definitely feel worried about doing well on my [AP] tests,” said senior Chris Sir, “because it determines if I can skip college classes. Studying is a really stressful process.”

5 views this week