Students Reflect on AP Testing

May is an important yet stressful time for students across the nation.  

But why is this?  

The first two weeks of May are when AP exams take place. For most students this time of year is crucial, as passing these exams can give you a college credit. However, some exams can last up to three hours, which can negatively impact the mental health of the students who take these tests. 

Senor Tyler Huynh, has taken 14 AP classes overall, shares his experiences with taking AP classes and AP exams. 

“It was a really stressful time for a lot of my peers and I. As a senior, I tried to make it a little easier on myself by telling myself that it didn’t matter that much. I know that for previous years and for people in lower grades, like juniors and sophomores, I know that’s really stressful. I remember going through a lot of headaches just getting ready for those tests,” Huynh said.  

Stress is a large reason why some people struggle with AP classes. For Huynh it was never detrimental to his academics. 

“I would say that I’ve had a very hard time with stress because of AP classes. At the same time, I wouldn’t say that it has stopped me from doing anything I’ve wanted to in school,” Huynh said. “The stress was never bad where I had to skip school or miss out on certain things, and I think that was a good thing. It seems like the stress is what steers people away from AP classes, but for me, it seemed like it was never horrible.” 

Huynh believes that AP classes are a great way of notifying colleges about how much of a hard worker someone is. 

“[AP classes] have had the greatest impact on my life, I would say in in terms of my high school career. I think that they really helped boost my resume and helped me get into colleges I wanted to [go to],” Huynh said. “They gave me the freedom to apply anywhere hoping that I can use those credits and show off how much work I put into high school by saying that I took these AP classes.” 

AP classes offer college level skills in a high school class, which can be useful for students looking for a challenge. 

“I think that AP classes are a great way to prepare students for after high school. [The classes] get people to really exercise their full potential and to try,” Huynh said. “I feel like not a lot of students are put into the situation where they have to work as hard as AP students have to, and I think because of that there’s a lot of growth [in AP students].” 

According to Huynh, the amount of work that comes with an AP course can make it easy for students to fall behind and make it difficult to get back on track. 

“I would say that a con is that you could fall under a bad spell for the rest of the year. If you get behind [in the class] that can weigh down on you for the entire year. I think when people are able to overcome that which is common, there’s a big payoff in that and in the skills you take away after taking an AP class.” 

Although AP classes are difficult for some, for others it can teach them to consistently study and write notes for their classes. 

“A positive would definitely be learning to work hard and being forced to learn consistency. I think towards the end when you start falling under the pressure of AP, you can learn from that too,” Huynh said. 

Huynh believes that most AP courses have similar themes, and understanding most subjects in school can make it a better experience. 

“Being able to stay consistent and pay attention, at least a little to all of the different subjects, it makes it easier to understand the whole topic as a whole,” Huynh said. “I’ve noticed that in AP classes they all seem to weave together all the units and everything, they almost tell a story no matter what class you’re in.” 

AP exams are a stressful time for students in these classes, so finding ways to de-stress can not only help their mental health but also their academics. 

“I would tell myself to not stress as much. I think that going into the test with a lot of stress can be a barrier. I think that being able to keep your cool when going into the AP exams can really help you because it’s easier to recall certain information,” Huynh said. 

Huynh thinks that there is a lot to be learned in an AP class that can be useful for the future. 

“I wish I knew how good the knowledge would be afterwards. I think that there’s a payoff because of how diverse AP classes are. After you take an AP class you realize there is good knowledge that I know now,” Huynh said. 

One of the best times of the year is the last month of school, during this time all the AP exams are over and most students are feeling better. 

“I am ready to do nothing for the rest of the year. It’s always like that every single year after all the AP tests are done, the school seems to be all in good spirit,” Huynh said.