The AP exam or the final: which one comes first?


Thea Sankari

AP exams take place May 6 through May 17.

There is always the age old question of the chicken or the egg, which came first? Well, if you ask a high school AP student, they probably don’t care. For them, the real question is the AP exam or the final? Which one should come first?

Due to a new regulation change, many AP classes are going to be taking the final after the AP exam, on the normal final day. This policy is not set in stone, however all teachers are urged to follow this schedule by the administration and their department chairs. Many students are enraged by this, mainly because the final was the perfect preparation for the AP exam, and now that preparation is gone.

Personally, I am not a fan of this change. For many AP veterans, we are used to taking the final before the AP exam, which is taken within the first two weeks of May. That means after the AP exams were over, we wouldn’t do much for the rest of the school year for those classes, and during the day of the final we wouldn’t have to do anything.

Last year, for example, when I took AP European History, we took a four part final before we took the AP exam. The final was structured exactly like the AP exam was going to be. In studying for the final, which covered the whole year (as the AP exam would), I was also studying for the upcoming AP exam. Ultimately, I did well on the actual AP exam because the mock AP exam that we took as our final prepared me.

To be honest though, if the pressure to do well on the final before the AP exam wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have studied as much. That is what many kids are going through right now with their AP classes.

However, some people support this policy change. They say that getting through the AP exam first releases a lot of stress for them, and it makes it easier to study for the final.

Michaela Malec
Studying for AP exams and finals can be stressful, this change is a way to relieve that stress.

“Honestly, I like this change because it’s really stressful studying for a ton of AP tests and finals at the same time,” said James Gaddis, sophomore. “This way, it splits everything up and makes it one stressful thing at a time.”

A large advocate for this new change and hopefully new policy is administrator Ms. Jessica Hurt, Assistant Principal for Curriculum. The main point that she stressed when talking about this new change is that knowing Central students, they will prepare just as much for the AP test with or without the final before it. In addition to that, she made sure to mention that when kids have a lot of APs to study for, taking multiple AP finals and then multiple AP exams all within a span of two weeks is extremely stressful.

“It gives the kids a chance to spread things out. The final exam should be a final for that semester, and should be at the end. Hence the name ‘final’. For the teachers who want to prepare their kids with an AP structured cumulative before the AP exam, they are more than welcome,” Ms. Hurt said. “However, it shouldn’t be the 20 percent of your grade final, it should just be a cumulative. There are other ways to prepare for the AP exam that are less stressful and drastic as taking the final before the AP exam.”

Ms. Hurt makes a very good point that when you have a lot of finals and AP exams all at once it can get stressful. But, at the end of the year when people are taking finals for their non-AP classes, taking all of their finals at once is just as stressful.

Many AP teachers are very impartial when it comes to this policy. Some understand why this policy was put into place, but they also don’t like that it creates a sense of unpreparation in the students’ heads.

“The school and district has made a decision to not have any “high-stakes” test outside of the final exam window.  While I feel that the old way was great preparation for the AP exam, it could have put great burden on students who have multiple final exams before multiple AP exams in a very short time period,” said Mr. Naisbitt, AP European History teacher.

Although many people like this new policy, I personally don’t because although it may relieve stress, the feeling of being unprepared is even more stressful.

AP exams start the week of May 7 and ends on May 18. Final exams are from May 30 – June 1.