AP Courses and Exams Evaluated

By: Jessica Cha ’17
Staff Writer

The end of the year means the end of AP exams, the three-hour long exams that students spend all year preparing for.

Over half of the upperclassmen take at least one AP exam during their years at Peddie, accepting academic challenges, and discovering the advantages and disadvantages of taking such demanding courses.

“Each Advanced Placement course follows a curriculum designed by college and high school teachers…and their choices reflect their confidence in the contact and skills that make up a particular AP course,” Associate Head of School Catherine Rodrigue said.

This curriculum allows the students to learn and understand as much as they can about their topic in the time given. Students are then given a comprehensive AP exam that enables them to test their understanding and overall achievement in the course compared to the national standard.

Although dedicated teachers and education experts make sure to design an AP course as effectively and efficiently as possible, the system is still not perfect.

“Over the years, one criticism of the AP program has been the content-heavy approach to the various curricula and testing,” Rodrigue said.

As the exam approaches, teachers try to fit as much material into the last few weeks as possible, which in turn affects their teaching methods. Students similarly feel the pressure of the time constraint.

“I felt stressed because of the amount of material that we were required to learn. Since exams are at the end of the year, I felt pressured to memorize as much as I could, rather than taking the time to understand what we were learning,” Jocelyn Ng ’14 said.

The AP exam schedule given to students also initiated criticism. Students who took exams in the afternoon were excused from morning classes, while students who took exams in the morning were required to attend afternoon classes.

While factors such as exam schedule and stress levels are important when considering an AP course, many students still decide to take on the challenge.