As the majority of Palo Alto High School seniors and juniors are enrolled in Advanced Placement (AP) courses and plan to take AP tests at the end of their second semester, The Campanile believes that the entire process of AP testing, from pre-registration and scheduling to the finals for AP classes which take place in the weeks before official testing begins, should be reformed to better fit students’ needs and to facilitate a less taxing time for those who are taking AP tests.
This year, students were notified via email about pre-registration, which are necessary lunchtime sessions for students to attend so that they can take their AP tests, only a day before the pre-registration sessions began, leaving many students without ample time to adjust their schedules or to determine when they could attend the mandatory sessions.
This messy planning on the administration’s part resulted in confusion and inadequate planning time for a large number of students. Instead, The Campanile believes that these pre-registration sessions could be better facilitated and scheduled to make the AP registration process simpler and smoother for students.
An alternative option to the current system would be to carry out the pre-registration during an advisory period — all students would have one designated time to complete the registration, lessening confusion, and furthermore allowing for a smaller number of students per teacher in each classroom, instead of having one administrator lead a huge group of students, which resulted in a hectic and poorly-administrated registration session.
Another aspect of scheduling that needs improvement are the finals which take place in AP classes during the last weeks of April: teachers in AP classes usually move their classes’ finals to the week before AP testing so that their students can review for both their classes’ finals and their AP tests at the same time.
While moving finals to before AP tests occur is effective in preparing students for their tests, we believe that the finals week for AP classes is often an extremely stressful and demanding time for students — students must balance their workload and homework from other classes while also attempting to prepare for their AP finals.
Because the week is not a designated finals week, there is no limit to the assignments, projects, and studying that students have to do.
To help students during this time, The Campanile believes that Paly should hold after-school sessions in the library before and during the week of AP final testing, similarly to the library sessions that occur during official finals testing weeks. This AP finals week is just as hectic, or even more so than the traditional finals week, for students who take many AP courses, and should be handled by administration in a more effective way to help students the best they can.
Ultimately, The Campanile recognizes that AP testing is an extremely stressful time for the majority of upperclassmen, and believes that the administration should reform the overall process of AP scheduling in order to simplify and improve the experience for all of those who choose to take AP tests.