InClass

AP season can be taxing on your gifted students. Here’s how you can help them prepare for AP testing.

Feb 11, 2020

Advanced placement (AP) courses are rigorous, challenging students with college-level materials on a variety of subjects (from core classes to a variety of art programs). At the end of each course, students can elect to take an exam that can award them college credit. For example, a student taking AP English Language and Composition can take the exam and earn English 101 credit pending the final score. In addition to the stress of the AP exam itself, colleges have different policies that affect whether they accept the credit.

When is the exam and how much does it cost?

AP season is arduous and a fine balancing act for all involved. Students have to first elect to take the AP exam. Students sign up for the desired exams they would like to take and pay for each exam individually ($94 per exam). Depending on the school, students can be in multiple AP classes and can opt to take multiple exams. For students on free or reduced lunches, this can be a financial hardship. These students may be eligible for a reduced AP exam fee.

What can I expect from my students?

AP exams are administered in May, which means you may see higher levels of stress than usual among your students in March and April. Remember that AP students are usually at the top of their graduating class, heavily involved in extracurricular activities, and often have a part-time job for experience. To them, this is an exam that will impact their college admissions and records. 

What can I do to help these students?

The most practical solution is consistency. Provide a quiet space to study, help them plan, and try to be transparent about what your classroom activities and deadlines will look like. Consider providing study sessions when you can. By consistently being there and offering a safe haven, you are supporting your AP students more than you may realize.

How can I encourage them?

In truth, though, the best piece of advice is to be honest with AP students. This can be viewed as a high-stakes test, but it does not define them. Inspire your students; remind them who they are, what they are capable of, and why they will succeed on the exam. After all, they are your students. Who better to prepare them than you?

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