May—the month of stress.
This is the month where everything we students have worked for all year culminates. Between AP testing, SOLs, sports playoffs, theatre events, field trips, prom, and many other end-of-year activities, the stress students face can truly be overwhelming.
The struggles of this month are enough to drive any normal student to insanity. Imagine double that for the students enrolled in AP classes. Most of us are lucky to make it to the end of the month without pulling all of our hair out.
AP courses are designed with the end goal of the AP test—a three-plus hour exam comprised of multiple-choice questions and a free-response portion that typically consists of essays or multi-step problems.
These tests are extremely difficult, as they are at a college level. They require many hours of studying and preparation. As they are also quite draining on the students, we really are in need of a break to get some rest and clear our heads after stuffing so much information into them.
Within the past couple of years, however, our school has made the declaration that all AP students are permitted one half-day before or after their exam, regardless of how many AP classes they might be enrolled in.
While we do appreciate the opportunity for this break, the limitation to only one day does not really take into account the fact that some students need more than this. One half-day off is perfect for students with one or two tests. Realistically, however, many students in our area are pressured into taking multiple AP courses; some of these, such as AP Physics C and AP Comparative Government, have two back-to-back exams. It is vital for the success of students to be given breaks in this overly stressful period of time to prepare for or recuperate from their exams.
We believe that students in multiple AP classes should not be limited to only one half-day off. Even if administration does not want students to have a half-day off for every exam, we feel that the number of days off should at least be scaled appropriately for the number of AP exams that student is taking: for example, one half-day for one or two AP exams, two for three or four exams, three for five or more.
It is important that our students perform to their utmost abilities on their exams. Not only is time off crucial for students to mentally recover from their rigorous exams, but the time off can also be utilized by these responsible students for studying. Additionally, stress can severely distract students and cause them to do poorly on exams that they have worked hard all year for. After such a long and stressful year, we AP students deserve to finally, finally get the break that we deserve.