AP Tests Come to a Close

Students and teachers reflect on a return to in-person AP tests


Matisse Arnone

Ms. Scott helps students review for the AP Physics exam

Matisse Arnone

May brings the telltale signs of the quickly approaching summer. The weather gets warmer, sports’ focus shifts from track to baseball, and teachers wrap up teaching and prepare for summer. May also is the season for AP tests. Ella Sherlock ‘23, took the AP Government and Environmental Science exams this year and is happy to have them come to an end.

“To be honest, it feels good [to be done],” Sherlock said. “I’m grateful that now I don’t have to worry about it.”

John Burkle teaches AP Government and regular government at City High. Although the test is over now, he describes the long process that prepared the students to take these exams.

“I follow the AP guidelines that they give us [including] the content and the different units that will be present on the test,” Burkle said. “I try to use the AP style of questioning for unit tests, and I do various Free Response Questions throughout the year so that they’re not new to students who will see them on the test.”

For Ethan LaLumiere ‘25, the AP United States History test was a big focus for him this spring. He wanted to make sure to do his very best on the exam.

“It’s my first [AP Test], so I was pretty stressed about it because I didn’t know if I was going to do well on it,” LaLumiere said. “I studied outside of class and took 30 minutes each day the past couple of weeks just to study for it.”

On the contrary, Sherlock says that even though this was her first year taking AP tests in person, she is less stressed about them than she was in previous years.

“I took my AP tests last year online in my room which was a comfortable environment for me. They totally stressed me out though, because they seem like a big deal during that time, and they were also the first AP tests I ever took,” Sherlock said. “This year, I didn’t care about the test as much so it leveled out for me.”

Trying to not stress out as much about the tests, Sherlock purposefully did not devote as much time to studying this year as she had in the past.

“I didn’t really [study] that often. I watched some YouTube videos, and I talked with friends about it, but that’s pretty much the extent to which I practiced for these exams,” Sherlock said.

Burkle thinks that despite these being the first in-person tests since the start of the pandemic, that hasn’t had a very big impact on students.

“Taking it in person was a new phenomenon for some because they’ve been so used to taking them online in 2021 and 2020,” Burkle said. “A lot of my students are taking the SAT and ACT this year. That’s back to in-person, so it shouldn’t have been too much of a switch.”

Finally being done with tests is a big weight off of students’ and teachers’ shoulders According to Burkle. He is eager to learn from this year’s experience to make his teaching even better next year.

“It’s a relief because you spend so much time focusing on it, preparing for it, even just making sure that you get all the content in. This year we were running out of time to get everything in, so it’s just a relief when it’s finally done,” Burkle said. “I have got to repace my class because with more days off during the school year, that’s going to change how we teach AP classes.”

After having this year’s experience under his belt, LaLumiere knows what to expect for future AP exams he will take.

“I got to see what the AP test is like because my parents want me to take a lot more of them and also try to de-stress about it to make the future ones a lot easier,” LaLumiere said.

Sherlock encourages others to use AP tests as an opportunity to get over some test anxiety so that they can perform better in future more-important tests.

“I don’t think that AP tests are really important. I think that people stress too much about them,” Sherlock said. “I want everyone to look at AP tests as an opportunity to practice putting yourself in a more time-dependent situation, rather than something that’s going to get you into college.”