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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

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Nonnewaug freshmen discuss their worries about the testing, including potential AP exams, they have to take next year.
Savulak: AP Tests Aren't That Stressful
Katie Savulak '26, Reporter • June 6, 2024

Savulak: AP Tests Aren’t That Stressful

Katie Savulak ’26
Nonnewaug freshmen discuss their worries about the testing, including potential AP exams, they have to take next year.

WOODBURY — Hopped up on caffeine, I walked into my AP exams, scared out of my mind.

I looked around as everyone put their bags away with concerned yet focused looks on their faces. My hands shook as I placed my ID labels crooked in the box and waited for the dreaded sound of “you may begin.” Once we had started, the scribbling sound of pencils filled the room and a constricted feeling expanded in my chest as I raced to finish in time.

As I handed all my papers in after four rushed hours, I ran my thoughts back through the testing session. I couldn’t think of anything that jumped out as a threat to my score. Was AP testing really as bad as everyone says it is?

I had heard from all my upperclassman friends that taking multiple AP courses, Seminar and European History, was going to be difficult for me as they had complained of a rough journey with them as well. Whenever I would have a catch-up with them, they would always express the stress they had surrounding their AP classes, specifically US History and Statistics. Sometimes, there were even tears involved in these conversions.

Many times, the complaints came from particularly smart students who you would never guess would be struggling with a class. I remember one friend broke down in tears over an AP Statistics project. Seeing such a smart student express that much fear over a class had me terrified to take an AP class.

Yet, I took two.

AP Seminar was mildly intimidating. Throughout the year, the course brought on quite a few substantial presentations with short deadlines. Naturally, this stressed me out for the test at the end of the year as I have trouble with time management and the previous short deadlines made me think the test might be the same way. AP Euro covered so much of history and I had hundreds of years worth of French leaders named Louis to differentiate between. There was also so much content within the test that I was worried even if I could answer the prompts, I wouldn’t be able to for time restriction reasons.

“I was definitely nervous for the test,” said sophomore AP Seminar student Addison Neilson. “I knew it had the highest AP passing rate so that made me feel a bit better, but it was my first time so I was still terrified because of everything I had heard people saying about it. The closer it got to the testing date, the more I stressed and worried about it.”

Similar to Neilson, I had heard all my upperclassmen friends complaining about how bad the test went the year prior. Freshman me had already signed up for AP Seminar, so from that moment, negative anticipation grew inside of me the rest of the year.

“I was definitely nervous because it was my first time and I didn’t know the routine of it,” says junior AP student Mae Addeo. “I didn’t know what I was going to see when I first walked in there. I studied a lot. I reviewed all my notes, retook the notes, and went through everything.”

“I was really worried and I didn’t know what to expect,” said sophomore AP Psych, Seminar, and Computer Science student Grace Rubacha. “I was really scared because it seemed like a really impossible achievement to get a 4 or a 5 or something that can get you college credit.”

Once the first dreaded testing day came, I made sure to pump myself full of as much caffeine as possible. My first test was Seminar, which was the least of my AP worries. I got lucky with that scheduling because it would be hard to dive into the AP deep end with Euro as my first ever exam.

When I approached our testing room, everyone was crowded outside. Everyone seemed jittery and nervous, maybe partly because of the candy salad Mrs. [Jess] McKay had provided for us, but I could feel the negativity filling up the room. One girl even broke down in a panic attack and started crying. Once we were situated and filled out our personal information, the test moderator gave the long anticipated signal to begin the test.

“I studied beforehand by watching AP videos and reviewing,” Rubacha said. “During the test I was really worried about time and I would look at a question and think, Oh my god, I don’t know how to do this, and think about it for the rest of the test. My stress levels were really high because I had high expectations for myself.”

“In the beginning of the test I felt pretty good,” Neilson continued. “But during the end of the test I started rushing because I wanted to get as much as I could done before time was up rather than not get counted for it at all.”

As we poured out the doors of the exam room, we all talked amongst ourselves. But it wasn’t the negative I-definitely-failed-that type of talk you would expect to hear. “It wasn’t that bad,” everyone was saying, especially after AP Euro. Maybe it was the adrenaline, maybe we got lucky with the prompts, but everyone agreed that they felt confident in their work.

“I was scared I wasn’t prepared, but when I got through it, it wasn’t that bad,” Addeo said, relieved. “My thought process during the test was just focused on getting through the test and finishing in time.”

“I don’t think it’s really as stressful as it’s talked up to be,” Neilson agreed. “The tests aren’t actually as scary as people have said. I think it’s just all the anticipation leading up to the day of the test that gets people scared.”

It certainly wasn’t a walk in the park, but maybe we overreact a little bit when we tell upcoming AP students about what they’ve signed up to experience. Of course it is important to work hard throughout the course, but maybe it isn’t hard enough to bend over backwards for. Was it really all that bad?

This is the opinion of Chief Advocate reporter Katie Savulak, a sophomore at Nonnewaug.

About the Contributor
Katie Savulak '26
Katie Savulak '26, Reporter
Katie Savulak is a sophomore at Nonnewaug. This is her first year as a reporter for the Chief Advocate, and she enjoys writing about all topics. Katie plays tennis for Nonnewaug in the spring and she dances year-round. Katie is a music enthusiast of all genres.
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