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AP Exams should be optional

By Maya ’12

I understand the importance of AP Exams: how they serve to show colleges where you stand on a national level, how they demonstrate your understanding and how they are representative of all the time, work and energy expended throughout the year. At least, that is what AP Exams are supposed to achieve. But in reality, in the case of seniors, they are simply exams that do not matter.At Marlborough, most girls do not take APs to get college credits. We are lucky enough to attend a School at which challenging ourselves for the sake of a challenge is encouraged, and even normal. Therefore most seniors find themselves taking an Exam that is entirely fruitless, because the school they will be attending does not accept AP credit. And because girls are already into college, their AP scores do not matter.

Over the years we have seen some classic examples of seniors slacking off, namely the current Princeton student who fell asleep and drew butter­flies on her AP Latin Exam. Why? Because why not?! Her behavior may be sad to confront if you truly believe in the undying academic vitality of the student body, but this final manifestation of senioritis shouldn’t come as a surprise. Seniors spend the entire year proving and quantifying their aca­demic worth through the college process, so the idea that in May, after all is said and done, seniors would actually put forth effort on APs is ridiculous. Of course, there are always a few girls who study just as diligently due to a deeply rooted desire to prove and quantify their academic growth and the knowledge that their scores reflect their teachers’ abilities, but for most, AP week simply means re-reading some notes and hoping for the best. Typically, seniors don’t do so terribly–passing with a 3 or higher–but that isn’t saying much when to get a 5 on most APs a student only has to score 60% or higher.

Almost every teacher I have had criticizes the AP system, especially the tests themselves. They complain about it being too broad, focusing on the wrong things and not providing an accurate assessment of knowledge. I’ve al­ways loved when these teachers in the same breath add, “But, seniors, please do well because it reflects badly on me if you don’t…”

While as a sophomore or junior taking the Exam is a necessary evil for the application process, forcing seniors who won’t receive college credit for the course to take the AP Exam is a waste of time.