AP Season Finally Draws to a Close


College Board

The official Advanced Placement (AP) Organization logo. According to the College Board, about 4.2 million kids around the world took at least one AP exam this year (collegeboard.com).

Madison Austin, Photojournalist

Last Friday, a select group of 15-18-year-olds around the world joined together in a universal celebration of relief. After a summer of preparation and eight months of nonstop learning, AP classes finally came to a close with the annual and infamous AP exams. Regardless of the sentiment surrounding the exams, there was nothing but good vibes and happy cries filling the air on that Friday afternoon.

The entire AP Exam preparation process is much more than one would expect. Because an AP class compacts the entire curriculum of a college-level course into 55 minutes a day for eight months, the already overworked AP class demographic has to learn the curriculum of an entire course in crunch time. Initial chapters are studied individually over summer vacation, and AP classes typically commence with the notorious “first day of school test” at the very beginning of the school year.

From there, it is a full-fledged race with the clock to reach May. AP teachers face half the stress, as they are responsible for covering such a wide range of material in such a short amount of time, all the while assuring that their students are receiving adequate education and maintaining a genuine understanding. It is a difficult balance between speeding through a unit and teaching an in-depth lesson on the content. 

Luckily, Yorba Linda High School is filled with some undeniably remarkable teachers that assure the success of their students on AP exams. Yorba Linda has significantly higher pass rates on their AP exams than the national and state averages. Furthermore, YLHS students walk away with a vast understanding of the content, many citing that they are now experts on the subjects of their AP courses. Alexandra Herrada (11) claims to be so appreciative of her AP teachers and the knowledge that she acquired over the past year. She proudly states that she is  “so grateful to have had the opportunity to receive such a distinguished education,” and many fellow Mustangs, myself included, share that feeling.

Despite the common claims of the harrowing aspects of the AP exam process, I am beginning to look upon this year’s AP exam journey with great fondness. Almost immediately after completing my last AP Exam, I was overcome by a wave of despair as I had a shocking realization that not only bummed me out but also elicited a solid tear to fall down my right cheek. Once the AP exams are taken, that class is officially over. 

In all the months and weeks of preparation for the AP Exam, there’s such a sense of togetherness within a class. As many AP teachers often proclaim, the AP Process is “the students against the College Board,” and this year, seemingly more than others reflected that idea. In all of my AP classes, all students teamed up to combat a shared adversary. Kids who have never communicated before were talking about the exam, and the most unlikely of friends came together to study for the exam.

Furthermore, there is something strangely satisfying about the pursuit of a good grade on the AP exam. Almost everyone around the globe has heard of AP Exams, and pure name recognition earns them an inherent threshold of respect. To say that one is studying for an AP exam is to automatically win a modicum of respect from others. Those who have gone through the AP process recognize the value of the achievement and those who have not recognize the immense dedication and efforts put forward.