Editorials and Opinions

The unnecessary loss of one’s AP virginity

By Sandy Shen
Published: May 2010

There’s a slight familiarity to it all: the smell of freshly sharpened number two pencils, the clamor of students frantically cramming every last bit of information into their minds, and the anticipation in the air of the horrifying task before us.

Sure, we’ve all done it; in Massachusetts, many of us have to take a rigorous standardized test about once every two years. However, this one is quite another matter. This test, the Advanced Placement Exam administered by the intimidating College Board, matters even more than the MCAS does.

Not only would doing well help boost your college applications a slight amount, but passing would mean a chance of not having to take the course in college. Forget that many colleges don’t even let you transfer AP credit, rendering the test a complete waste of three to four hours of your life.

The truth is, kids, AP tests are much more hyped up than they should be. They are merely another cobblestone on your path to success. However, they are stones that can very easily be sidestepped, rather than stepped over.

Don’t get me wrong, now. I’m not saying you should walk into the test completely unprepared. I mean, I know I spent many a sleepless night stressing over my textbook, cramming as much info as I could (by which I mean laughing in front my computer, watching as many movies as I could).

Really, how can you not take a test seriously when a three out of five garners a passing grade, and a national scale causes about a 30 out of 100 to be worth a three. In fact, for the Biology AP in particular, a raw score of 61 out of 100 earns you the highest score of five.

That’s less than two-thirds of the information correct, and you get effectively 100 percent. Granted, these statistics fluctuate every year, but they do not stray too much in either direction.

I won’t pretend that I completely winged this test. It’s actually quite hilarious how early I woke up on a Saturday to study biology the weekend before (Haha. Ha). I’m just telling you what you all probably want to hear.

You don’t need to know nearly as much as you think you do to successfully BS your way through your APs, and you definitely don’t need to pull two successive all-nighters to study for them. Not that I did that, or anything.

Still not convinced? Still think that you’re going to earn yourself the fated three instead of a full-on five? You should know that a friend of mine, who must remain anonymous, applied to Harvard with two threes as scores on the only two AP tests he took in all of high school.

Guess what? He got in.

And finally, because I feel it’s my duty to inform any people who are not avid overachievers that their futures are still intact, obviously you don’t need to go to Harvard to have an amazing life.

Moreover, you probably don’t even need to take a single AP to have an amazing life. And if you do take one, just stop thinking about it afterwards. Who cares if you get a three? Who even cares if you get a one? Your life will be just fine, I promise.

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