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AP Testing Season Adds Stress For Local Students

• Advanced Placement exams hit local students hard right before school finals and summer.

May marks a stressful time for high school students across the nation. It means that AP season has begun.
Peninsula and Palos Verdes high school students were tested last week on various college level courses that they have spent the year studying. The courses vary from language, high level math and various types of social and physical sciences.
The AP (advanced placement) tests are cumulative exams of all material that has been presented in the course and is typically presented in a four-hour period.
At both Peninsula and Palos Verdes high school, students are marked for high academic achievement. This stigma often leads students to involve themselves within multiple, high-demanding AP courses. For some students their whole schedule is composed of these courses.
Why do these students feel the need to take on such a rigorous schedule?
“I feel the need to take high school courses (AP) because I’m following the paths my brothers took in high school”, said Liana Korotzer, a junior at Peninsula.
For many students, the paths of siblings are a prominent factor in how they choose their high school paths. But other students’ motives differ.
“I take a lot of APs because I want to have credits when I go to college so I don’t have to take the same classes again,” said John Szieff, a Peninsula senior currently taking six AP courses.
A good number of students do take these courses so they can complete a course for college credit. And others take the courses with the intention of expanding their knowledge on what they plan to study in college. Some want to complete a general education course that is irrelevant to what they plan on studying in college.
Shockingly, the majority of these students say their motivation to take advanced classes falls under these categories. Few say their schedule is the result of pressure that their parents hold over them.
“I actually wanted to take more AP courses than I currently am taking, but my parents told me that they didn’t want me to be too stressed out,” said Tara Weiman, a junior at Peninsula.
In addition to being known as high achieving students, Peninsula and Palos Verdes high students are known for their high stress levels.
Many parents and adults surrounding the students believe that the AP level courses are what causes high levels of stress. However, many students see the taking of these courses differently.
“I am in two AP classes. APs don’t affect my stress level until the weeks leading up to the tests.” said Mary Sweetnam a junior at Peninsula.
Although the beginning of May brings stress to many high school students, many see a benefit in taking AP courses. They value the expansive education that is offered to them. And students are possibly more aware that AP course testing means that the last month of school is pretty relaxing, and post AP exams means students are transitioning into their summer mode.

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