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POSTED: May 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.

How one student prepares - AP tests are happening right now for many high schoolers

With AP tests looming I went hunting for a student slated to take one. Megan Shill, an RHHS Junior, was set to take the AP U.S. History Exam Friday, May 9. I spoke to Megan about how she has been preparing for this serious undertaking and what her thoughts were on AP courses as a whole.

Q: How are you preparing for the exam?

A: I started studying about last Saturday, and I’m slowly increasing how much I study. Like last night I studied probably about two hours, so I’ll probably study that much until the exam. And I’m studying an AP study guide book, and I’m studying the multiple choice book we got in the class, and chapter tests.

A: How prepared do you feel?

Q: About half prepared. I’m mainly worried about multiple-choice, because I’m a terrible guesser.

Q: Have you ever taken an AP exam before?

A: No, this will be my first time.

Q: Are you planning on taking anymore AP classes you senior year?

A: Yeah, I’m going to take three: AP Chemistry, AP Government and Economics and AP Calculus.

Q: What would you say the pros are to taking AP courses?

A: Since they are college level courses I feel that they help you prepare for college a lot more. You’re a lot more independent studying, especially in Ms. Worsham’s class, because she just lectures and you can take notes or not so I think it’s like a college level class.

Q: What are the cons?

A: They are harder and there is an AP exam so I guess that would be the hard part about it.

Q: What advice would you give to students deciding whether or not to take an AP course?

A: I think if you’re in the Honors program then you’d probably be more prepared for it, then if you were just in regular CP classes. You just have to know that you are going to dedicate yourself to doing the homework and the assignments. If you don’t do your homework regularly then I wouldn’t suggest taking the class.

Q: How do you feel taking AP classes has changed you as a student?

A: It’s made me a heck of a lot better writer. I can write essays a lot better, and my study skills have improved and reading for comprehension I think has improved a lot too.

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Still a few more hurdles before summer

Though the school year is coming to a close, several challenges still remain before the escape of summer vacation arrives.

The end of the year is host to a slew of academic hurdles ranging from nail-biter exams to tedious research papers, and for those students taking Advanced Placement courses, there is yet another Minotaur waiting at the end of the labyrinth that is the school year - the AP exams.

AP exams are tests created by the College Board, which determine whether or not students get college credit for their AP class. Most exams include a multiple choice and free response/essay portion.

The maximum score on such tests is a five, though most colleges in Georgia will give credit to any student scoring at least a three, still considered to be quite an admirable feat.

Ms. Sharon Worsham, an AP certified teacher at RHHS, was able to shed more light on AP testing and the AP classes in general.

Q: What AP classes do you teach?

A: AP U.S. History and AP Government and Politics

Q: How hard are the AP exams in relation to your tests?

A: According to my students my tests are a whole lot harder than the AP exam is.

Q: What is your average class pass rate on the AP exams?

A: Out of my classes, on average, there is probably three or four kids that won’t make a four or better. Some classes make a 100 percent, then everybody makes a three or better. I’ve had that twice the six or seven years I’ve been teaching AP U.S. History.

Q: Is the Government exam harder by student standards?

A: No, I think that the students think that the Government exam is somewhat easier than the U.S. History exam.

Q: Why should students take AP classes?

A: Because it challenges them, number one, at a college level. Not a college prep level, but a true college level. And if you pass the exam with a three or better most of your state colleges in Georgia will give you credit so that’s one class that you don’t have to take when you get to college.

Q: What about out of state colleges?

A: That’s up to the colleges. Like I said I don’t know about out of state, what you do is the students need to check with the college that they’re planning on attending, and see if they accept AP course work.

Q: How do you prepare your students for the AP exam?

A: I do timed multiple choice tests, and they write essays. I would say that on average my students have probably written, in AP U.S. History, thirty essays or better, or DBQs. And then we do a review of course.

Q: Most AP students apply early to college, how much do AP classes you’re currently taking, that is those you haven’t passed an AP exam on yet, help you on a college application?

A: It tells the college that you’re taking college level classes, or better. That you are taking higher level classes. They take the number of Honors classes or AP classes that you’ve taken in comparison to student that don’t take AP classes or Honors classes, and so by having a lot of AP or Honors classes on your transcript, even if you don’t have a score yet but you’re still taking the class, they realize that you’re taking a challenging curriculum.

 

 

 

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