AP: Annoyed and penniless

By Nora Kline ’11

Senior spring has officially sprung and many students are sentimentally counting down the days until graduation.  The majority of us have been reminiscing about our fond memories of the Academy, and the people we are all going to miss.  Nothing is better than grabbing a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and sitting outside overlooking the Sager Bowl.  But what do we do when we realize that we cannot purchase those critical ice cream pints because our smart card accounts are mysteriously in debt?  Well, thank you AP exams, you have successfully placed quite the damper on senior spring!

Mandatory at the Academy, AP exams are the pinnacle of a nuisance.  Cashing in a whopping $87 per test, the College Board thrives off of schools like ours.  Many of my friends and I, who take three AP classes, are forced to pay $261 to sit in the hockey rink lobby for a grand total of about 10 hours.   Administrators and teachers face these AP complaints frequently and always reply with the same mundane and easily refutable answers.  The first one is that the AP experience and commitment can just not be completed without taking the exam at the end of the year.  But prestigious schools like St. John’s Prep and Phillips Andover do not require their students to take these tests so why should we?  I thought one of the “purposes” of the Academy was to teach students to begin to appreciate and perhaps even love learning for the sake of knowledge.  So how is forcing a student to take an AP test on a subject that he/she does not care about conducive to that theory?  Students should take these exams because they want to show their mastery and enthusiasm for the subject’s material.  But because we as teenagers like to rebel against authority forcing us to obey and because these exams have no impact on our final grade in the class, a handful of students use those three or some hours during the test to take a nap. 

But here comes my favorite line that teachers frequently blurt out in frustration.  “No one made you take this class!”  Oh, really?  So all of those hours spent in the college counseling office and at the kitchen table being told that we would not get into college without taking AP Calculus or AP English were just mild suggestions?  …right.  Let’s face it.  No one takes multiple AP classes for the fun of it.  We are all simply competing against each other to produce the most impressive and challenging transcript. 

Yes, I certainly acknowledge that a lot of colleges reward credit for certain levels of performances on these tests.  But I believe that we are old enough to decide if we want those credited hours.  We have heard stories of seniors sleeping through their AP exams because they wanted to take that entry-level class freshmen year in college and get an A … a waste of $87, huh?


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