Advanced placement exams started at Hull High School this week, offering a semblance of normalcy in a year that has been anything but and a benefit to those taking the exams.
Advanced placement, or AP, courses constitute instruction that gives students an experience similar to a college course. Students can choose to take the AP exam for their course; if they pass, they can earn college credit.
Hull offers a wide variety of AP courses. From literature to U.S. history, students can take an individual AP class or multiple courses in almost every subject, with a different exam for each course.
Last year, the pandemic heavily disrupted AP exams. Students took the exams online and had only 45 minutes to complete them, compared to the usual multiple hours they are given.
“Last year it was crazy when it was remote,” HHS guidance counselor Michelle Burke recalled.
This year all students were fully back to school in person a week before exams started. Burke said the new schedule is a benefit for exam takers because, even though “a lot of the AP classes were synchronous anyway, in person is good because it’s easier to communicate. Having them here every day during exam weeks is good.”
Meghan Preble, the school’s other guidance counselor, said that “this first week in person helps transition them into the seriousness of the exam.”
This year the test is similar to the format of two years ago when “they were paper and pencil in school, about three and a half hours each,” Burke said of the exams then.
Preble reported that the return to this method of test-taking is beneficial to the AP students because “the kids have taken it before like that; they’re used to how it is.”
Samantha Kaplan, the AP calculus teacher, said that “compared to two years ago, I believe my students this year are just as prepared. …
“I’m sure students are just as stressed, but we worked hard this year in and out of school,” she added.
According to Karissa Connors, the AP literature and AP language teacher, preparing for AP exams in both literature and language was a lot more difficult through synchronous teaching this year.
Connors’ class was “not able to cover as much material this year,” but, she said, “I felt the kids were still adequately prepared.”
Victoria Dolan is school correspondent for The Hull Times.