By Cynthia Dominguez, Opinions Editor
After spending an entire year or semester enrolled in an Advanced Placement class, students are given the opportunity to take an examination to prove that they have mastered the subject material. AP Exams are scored on a scale from one to five, with a three being a passing score and one being the lowest score. If the student scores a three or higher, he/she may be eligible to earn college credits, excusing them from taking certain courses in college. Before diving into the stressful process of taking AP Tests, knowing what the experience is truly like is important.
Many AP Tests take place from eight in the morning until noon, while others begin at noon and end at four in the afternoon. One of the most common pieces of advice regarding test taking is to get enough sleep the night before, and this still stands. Although students testing at noon have to stay later into the day, they are free from the stress of possibly arriving to school too late to take their test. Regardless of how great sleep is, a couple hours of extra sleep is not worth losing the money you may have paid to take an AP Test.
When entering the exam, wherever it is held on campus, all students are required to present their student ID before entering the exam. Have your receipt for your AP Exams with you as well as your AP number card which is given to you during the AP registration session in case of any complications. During the test, mechanical pencils are not to be used; the importance of bringing several number 2 pencils cannot be emphasized enough. Although some test proctors will have extra pencils available, this is not guaranteed, and scrambling to find someone with an extra pencil is not fun. Most exams have a written portion which requires students to use black or blue ink. Students should also bring more than one pen in case of emergencies.
Experienced AP test takers cannot emphasize the importance of snacks enough. A test lasting four hours is not easy to go through, and taking advantage of the short break during each AP test is important. Bringing a snack that will give you enough energy to perform your best will make the testing experience more bearable.
Despite all the hassle, taking an AP Test is an experience that allows you to demonstrate the skills you have learned over the course of the year. The test itself shows colleges your potential and could help you advance in the future, but it is crucial to have reasonable expectations for yourself. Cramming the night before does very little for actually preparing for the test, take time to relax before taking an AP Exam, and acknowledge the work you put in leading up to the test.