Chagrin students prepare for AP exams


With AP exams approaching in May, students at CFHS prepare to face the tests head on after a year of COVID-impacted education. 

Followed by the recent release of the AP testing schedule by the College Board, teachers and students begin to prepare for the final exams, whether online or in-person. 

After the pandemic’s tolls on learning, educators and legislators begin worrying about the mental state of students.  

Especially with Psychology Today reporting that “the average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s.”

With such high stress environments in high school already, is AP testing pushing students’ limits?

Many students rely solely on preparing for the exams through in-class review.  Others, opt to participate in individual or group study sessions to further strategies they’ve been practicing year-long.  

CFHS junior Emma Murphy, who is taking five AP exams this spring, rates her stress level as high. 

“I have so many to prepare for and three of them are back to back,” she stated. “The pressure that comes with AP tests alone is unnecessary because, in typical years, students also have finals so it just adds to overall stress and workload.”

Every two semester AP course has differing time limits, constraints, and curriculum which each student must retain for the final exam.  This environment fosters a high stress and high pressure trend, keeping students in an exhausting cycle of poor mental health. 

Murphy further elaborates that, “this can sometimes lead to poor performance in and outside of school and the pressure of needing to perform well on these tests can be overwhelming.”

Even following the completion of exams, students stress levels’ remain steady as they await their scores, which directly affects their college experience. 

CFHS junior Ella Spremulli, who is taking exams for AP Government and AP English Language, contends that the results of her exams will affect her future. 

“I just feel stressed,” she says. “I want to do well because college is coming up.”

Taking these exceptionally high stress levels into consideration, should AP exams still hold the weight that they do?

CFHS senior Brenden Levey believes they should. “By passing those courses, you can earn college credit which can save you money in the long run.”

Spremulli concurs that the pressure of the exams motivates students. She says, “AP exams allow for students to work harder and strive for better achievements.”

Even considering the positives, incoming high schoolers question whether or not the benefits outweigh the possible harmful effects to their mental health. 

So, should AP tests govern our high school experience?

Murphy concluded that AP exams should be here to stay.

“Some form of an AP exam is needed to represent the learning each student completed throughout the year,” she explained. “However, the College Board is due for an upgrade.”