Point: Should seniors go to their AP classes after the AP exams?

Katya Barrett, Editor-in-Chief Emerita

Because of the structure of the Senior Experience program, once AP tests ended, so did my AP classes. And while I am aware of how nerdy this sounds, I wish that they hadn’t.

My AP classes were my favorite part of senior year; they were enjoyable, challenging, and, for the most part, interesting. But in the weeks leading up to the early May exams, they were essentially just test prep. We did practice multiple choice questions, looked at essay examples, and talked over the formats of the tests. Yes, all of this was necessary. But it is unfortunate that my final memories of high school classes will be of stressful reviewing instead of real learning.

“I didn’t like how there was really no end to senior year,” said senior Isha Gupta. “My last few days of high school were during the stressful AP week and then all of a sudden, I never saw my peers again. Even if we just watched movies in our classes, we would have had a last few weeks with friends and time to say our goodbyes.”

Had students been allowed to stay in their AP classes after the tests were over, teachers would have had an entire month for interesting, non-test-based lessons. It would have been nice for my last memories of high school to have been of sitting outside and speaking French for an hour, or reading a book chosen by the students in English class or seeing how calculus really does apply to the real world.

“Even when there is not a test to teach to, teachers still have valuable things to share,” said senior Arjan Saraon. “There are life lessons to be learned from teachers who can actually choose what they want to teach.”

I fear that not allowing students to go to their AP classes after the tests sends the wrong message. It told me that anything not on the test is not worth learning. School should encourage, not discourage, students to get the most that they can from their teachers, to be curious, to learn for learning’s sake. I felt like I was being told, “learn for the test’s sake, and now leave.”

Yes, it is possible that in some AP classes, students might just watch movies. But is that really such a bad thing? Sometimes movies fit with the curriculum (Unthinkable in government class, anyone?) and sometimes students just need a break after the AP test craze.

I’m not trying to say that completing a Senior Experience project was not a valuable experience. I just wish it could have been in addition to my AP classes, not instead of.

Some students had projects that they were passionate about which required that they be excused from class. Give those students that option. Other students may have had more difficulty finding something outside of school that they would love to do. While volunteering experience may be more valuable, filing papers in an office is not.

People have different interests and motivations; do not discount students who are simply passionate about their classes. I, for one, would have liked another month of learning to be a part of my final high school experience.

In the weeks since AP exams, I have enjoyed sleeping late, going to school very rarely, and getting my Senior Experience project done.

But it would have been much more beneficial for me to have been in my AP classes. We have the weeks in between the end of classes and graduation—not to mention the whole summer—to experience being done with high school. I did not need that experience to start with the end of AP exams.

Had my AP classes continued, I probably would have complained about having to wake up early and having to do work while suffering from senioritis. But those are complaints that school is supposed to induce; they are a part of senior year. Instead, for the past three weeks, I have complained about not having the option to go to class, something students should never have the chance to complain about.

Lessen the hour requirement, provide the option to stay in AP classes, and allow students to get a full “senior experience,” not just part of it.