Snow days cause AP exam date changes
With the amount of snow days BHS has had this season, it left many students worried that they wouldn't be prepared for the AP exams.
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As the clock ticks toward the end of the year and students start to pick out bathing suits and tanning lotion, one last hurdle awaits the end of their school year.
Many students find that preparing for an AP exam can be challenging, however with all of the snow days, the exam became worrisome due to limited time before the exam. However with some testing dates pushed back, it leaves students like senior Angie Fitzgerald feeling less stressed.
“I’m really thankful because now we have more time to study and prepare,” said Fitzgerald. “I was worried at first because of all the days we missed.”
Fitzgerald is taking the AP Biology and Psychology exams in May. With these tests originally scheduled at the beginning of the month, it left AP Coordinator Jessica Larson a bit worried for the students.
“I actually didn’t even know we could do that and get the fee eliminated,” said Larson. “I called to see if it was allowed to order an entire class a late exam. I didn’t even know people did that.”
Larson originally thought in order for a class to move a test date, each student would need to individually pay the $45 late fee. However, a phone call with College Board told her that wasn’t the case.
“When I called, the person that I spoke to from College Board, told me about [how] we could apply [for a late testing date] since we lost so many days,” Larson said.
Larson called College Board because she worried for the AP classes that missed class time due to several snow days falling on orange days.
“That came about because we had one particular class that was asking me,” said Larson. “I said, ‘Well, we’ve never had an entire class do that.’ They were going to fundraise to make up the $45 late fee. I just called [College Board] and they said ‘Yeah, you can apply for all of your orange days.”
AP Psychology teacher Rebecca Auten’s AP Exam was originally scheduled as the very first AP test date. She felt she may not have time to cover everything she wanted to.
“We would have been prepared [if the test date hadn’t been moved],” said Auten. “But we would have probably sacrificed some things- like our essay review time. It would be really important to me to make sure that we covered all of the curriculum, but we definitely wouldn’t have as much time to prepare.”
Junior Jared Bayley feels less pressure with the AP exam date changes. As he is taking the AP Literature and Chemistry exams, he’s glad he has more time to prepare.
“I feel as though it does help,” said Bayley. It’s unfair that we missed so many orange days based snow days. I feel as though that change helps quite a bit.
The school had to meet two pieces of criteria in order to avoid the students having to pay $45 for a late testing fee.
“It’s a huge amount of money,” said Larson. “The two criteria we had to meet were that [those] particular days [the pushed back AP testing day] were tacked on after the exams were over. Which is to show that we were never going to get that time back for instructional purposes and exam prep.”
As many teachers lost a lot of instructional time, orange day AP classes fulfilled this piece of the criteria.
“The second criteria we had to have was that we missed at least five of those days [orange days],” said Larson. “We ended up missing five orange days, so we met the criteria.”
While Fitzgerald is glad that her testing dates are pushed back, she still feels that even if they didn’t change, she still could have succeeded on the exams.
“I definitely think I still would have succeeded if the date hadn’t been changed,” said Fitzgerald. “However, I would have been more stressed out about it. But now, I feel more secure in myself because we have more time.”
Auten felt more worried when it came to preparing the students for the exams. While she knew she could cover the curriculum, she wasn’t sure she could elaborate on the topics to give the students more instructional time.
“As an AP teacher, you set your curriculum at the beginning of the year and you know how many weeks you need to spend on each chapter,” said Auten. “So when you miss multiple class days, it really affects your yearly plan.”
Since this is Bayley’s first time taking an AP exam, he feels having more time to study will prepare him even more for each exam.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking [taking an AP Exam for the first time],” said Bayley. “I feel pretty prepared. I feel more prepared for AP Chemistry just because it’s an everyday class.”
Auten believes her students are just as excited as she is and knows they will conquer the exam come May.
“They [the students] were really excited because we were the very first testing date and now we are the last one,” said Auten. “We’ve gained almost three weeks in time. They were really excited that they have extra time before the test to prepare.”
While there is a lot of good, Larson does see some complications with the late testing date for some students.
“If you notice on the new calendar, we have ten different AP tests we give,” said Larson. “Those and the regular testing are over two weeks of testing. We don’t really always have a conflict for students. Then when we have the late testing, there is only three days we have the late testing. So we have to cram [eight of our ten tests] into three days.”
Even with new testing dates for some of the AP exams, students can take the original date if they desire too. The decision is solely up to the student.
“I think if anything it could only benefit them,” said Larson. “Especially if they only take the regular testing, and the whole rest of the class is taking the late testing date. You’re still going to be sitting through a whole weeks worth of instruction or exam preparation. If there’s really no conflict, to me it’s really a no brainer.”
In the end, Larson feels the biggest benefit is the amount of time students now have to prepare. Everyone can take a little bit of a breather before starting to cram for their exams in two months.
“To me, I think it just gives us that time,” said Larson. “Which in every other day life, we never get time back. So it’s kind of amazing that you’re getting time. This is priceless. You can’t put a pricetag on time.”