Keith Stone co-editor-in-chief
AP students at Beverly know the struggle of taking an AP and weeks later taking a final on the same material. While this does take place in only a select few classes, it hinders the successful transition the next year’s classes and ruins many students’ plans for the final efforts to pull up their grades with only a few weeks left in school.
AP tests which occur from May 1-12 are the true test of knowledge that students are supposed to have accumulated over the course of an entire year. These scores not only provide personal verification that they learned this subject to the student, but they also prove to colleges and universities that the students’ grades in the class are not inflated. These tests also give many students the opportunity to skip some entry level college classes and possibly graduate early. But it’s obvious that AP tests are incredibly important, most students know that. What most students know and teachers should know, is that AP classes giving finals after the AP is worthless.
Students reach a limit of studying eventually, and the school should want that limit to be reached before the AP test. Teachers should offer their finals before the AP test as a way for students to prepare and to give students a specific time to be fully prepared by. Many students promise themselves that they will study every day in the weeks leading up to their tests, and then find themselves in a bind when they leave everything to the final night before the test. So many students have found themselves rapidly reading WikiNotes study guides and skimming past AP tests online in the wee hours of the morning before showing up to take an 8 a.m. test. This is quite obviously not an effective way to study.
If teachers give finals (which usually weigh 15 to 20 percent of students’ grades) before the AP test, these late night, last-minute cram sessions won’t be as stressful because they will have already happened. If these true procrastinators wait until the night before to study for big tests, then at least they will have done their usual method of studying before the final. Seeing their grades on the final could also be crucial. If the student does poorly, s/he will know that s/he has to put more effort into studying if s/he wants a good score on the AP test. Also, if their scores are good, then they will be able to relax and some of their anxiety will be alleviated.
While some people may argue that this late final forces students to retain the information they crammed in their heads for the AP test, it instead will just force them to cram later and will distract them from their other classes. It is unfair to force these students to study as hard as they possibly can for APs and then do the same thing weeks later for a heavily weighted final. After the AP, the students can take a well earned break and use the class as a study hall, or the teacher can choose to continue to teach simply for the sake of education.
Having the final before the AP test will not only lower students’ stress levels, but it should also allow students to study more, perform better and get higher scores.