In-Person Exams Are Back After COVID-19 Lockdown


Kimberly Castro

At the Higher Education Center, there are signs at the counselor’s door regarding AP testing as each administrator takes turns to instruct a different exam or subject.

Kimberly Castro, Staff Writer

As the Advanced Placement Exams (AP) season comes to an end, students feel bittersweet about this year after returning from an unusual school year due to the pandemic. 

There are a variety of AP classes provided at Godinez Fundamental High School (GFHS), where students from all levels are encouraged to take on challenging  classes. For many students, this year’s exams were tough.

AP Exams usually last up to 3 hours depending on the subject taken. College Board provides students with limited time which can make it difficult for students to write multiple essays and answer multiple choice questions. The time limit can often be a huge role why students worry.

Counselors and administration are in charge of being proctors to make sure students are following regulations.

Though many students try hard  during those four years to be successful in the future and have a head start freshman year in college. As seniors end their final year, they are not ready to give up and continue to work hard, trying to gain some college credits and finalize high school courses, and finals.

Many teachers prepared their students by having mock exams which was a great way for them to finalize last minute lessons and wrap up the whole year. 

Others have to manage and keep up with everything including sports or outside activities.

Senior Jacob Carlos plays on the Varsity Baseball Team and took four AP courses: AP Calculus, AP English Literature, AP Physics II, and AP Spanish Language. He also received Student of the Month and Student Athlete of the Month.

“I was not very nervous. I just felt like I had limited time to study because of practice and baseball has become my favorite thing to do so it was somewhat time consuming to study and do everything at the same time,” said Carlos.

“I’m excited to go to college, I felt very great before and after the exams,” Carlos said.

He chose to commit to UC San Diego this upcoming fall. 

Juniors also took many competitive classes. Most of the juniors are enrolled in at least one AP course. Many juniors like Kristie Uraje took three AP classes: AP English Language, AP US History, and AP Spanish Language.

“I feel like it’s been a difficult year. Overall, it was hard to get into that work, the exams were very stressful and tough to get back on track with my other classes,” Uraje said.

Taking many classes at the same time can make students feel more anxious. 

“I felt nervous. I woke up early, since all my exams started at 8 a.m. for three days. Overall, I studied a lot the night before to get my mind fresh and ready for the next day,” Uraje said. 

Before the exam, many like Uraje felt the year went by nearly as fast as a blink of an eye.

Junior Samantha Penaloza thinks it was fairly painless for a first time AP test taker.   

“Before the AP test, I was nervous because it was my first time ever. I thought it was going to be extremely difficult. I had to study a lot and manage time because I play an outside sport and doing well in school is my priority,” Penaloza said.

Not everyone has the same level of confidence, although more are feeling prepared for the next year courses if they do decide to take AP courses.

“AP exams were not as bad as I thought they would be. I had taken one sophomore year and that made me feel a little better. I did great and I’m sure I will pass all of them,” Uraje said.

Mental health often plays a huge role around students that are often taking AP or honor classes. In many cases, young people feel overwhelmed, burned out, stressed and tired. 

AP teachers try do a good job structuring and preparing all year long for the AP exams. GFHS teacher, Lynn Chuang, who has been teaching Chemistry honors for years, transferred to a new subject this school year. She now teaches juniors and seniors in AP Statistics and Algebra II. 

“Moving was a big transition and it made me realize when students take on new classes it’s a new challenge, so it’s important to remember to be patient with oneself, stay focused, and stay organized,” said Chuang.

Most teachers’ goals throughout the year is to get their students ready to feel confident in their AP exams. 

“I think they are going to do absolutely well. I hope I did a good job for my first year, they worked until the end, dedicated to the end, and were all nervous, especially since its my first year, and its their first year taking statistics. It makes me feel like we are in the same boat together,” said Chaung. 

Chuang who can often relate to students, motivates them. 

Just know if there’s a rough day , there’s always the next day to improve upon to continue to do be better and learn,” said Chuang. 

When students know that there is support within classroom boundaries, they feel like it’s a space with moral and emotional support within the relationship the student begins to build with the teacher and classmates. 

Here are some tips for you to lessen your stressful mind:

  1. Take breathers 
  2. Go on a fresh walk or catch a sunset (very helpful) 
  3. Do a physical activity such as a workout 
  4. Find time and take a small break 
  5. Talk to friends or family members 
  6. Watch some TV or other source of entertainment

And lastly, do something you love. Self care is as important as any AP exam and course you are taking. 

“I recommend any students to take up a challenge of an AP class regardless of what they might think they can’t or can do,” said Chuang.

If you have ever wanted to take an AP course, remember there is always tutoring available and counselors to help out. 

Now it’s time to wait. 

Scores will be shown on students’ College Board account in July.