• CCA Pulse Magazine

Break Up with the Board| Frances Chai

Too many AP tests and hundreds of dollars later, College Board and I have finally put an end to our tumultuous relationship. As soon as I hit submit on the AP Lit exam, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief –– no longer would this dark cloud of a “non-profit organization” loom over me.

Call it nostalgia over finally ending a core piece of the CCA experience or just post-exam clarity, but I found myself in a strangely bittersweet mood following the end of my exam. You have to admit that there are some aspects of the AP exam that aren’t all that bad. There are a few gems here and there and while they don’t exactly make the stress, all-nighters, and expensive fees worth it, they definitely add some entertainment to an otherwise solemn experience. Some of my favorite AP moments include breaking the seal of the exam packet (the perfect opportunity to release some anger at College Board –– if we can’t break down this organization, at least we can break the seals of their exams), scrolling on Twitter post-exam (the memes are always 10/10 as are the photos uploaded of people absolutely bombing their free response answers; personally, I enjoyed the photo of someone taking the 2020 APUSH exam on their Nintendo DSi and the photo of someone submitting the lyrics of Nicki Minaj’s culturally significant “Super Bass” as an FRQ), and relishing the sense of accomplishment immediately following the exam (after an arduous studying and test-taking process, we deserve to feel good about ourselves).

Despite all the flaws of College Board, I have to admit that taking AP classes and their accompanying exams taught me a lot that will (hopefully) come to serve me well in the future. Besides the subjects of AP Lit, Euro, and Psych, I also learned important lessons in time management and balance. Since these are college-level courses offered to high school students, we can graduate knowing that we have a taste of managing heavy workloads and extracurricular activities. Although CCA’s 4×4 schedule system makes it easier to load up on AP classes to beef up transcripts and GPAs, I’ve learned that it is definitely not worth it to tack on an AP class that you have no interest in for the sole purpose of looking better for colleges. I know we’ve all heard it a million times, but you should take the classes you actually want to be taking. You’re more likely to get a better grade in the class and get a better score on the exam if you actually like the content that you are learning.

I’m not an expert in AP classes (is anyone?). I’ve never subjected myself to the torture that is taking eight APs in a single year or even the torture of taking AP Calc (of AB or BC variety). But I have survived taking some classes and exams (both in person and online) and came out on the other side relatively unscathed. Am I better for it? Probably. Am I happy to be done with APs and all things College Board? Most definitely.

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