Crunch time for high schoolers taking AP exams

Advanced placement courses can save a student time and money in college.

May 15, 2012

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(WBEZ/Becky Vevea)

If the 17-year-old in your life seems more stressed lately, it might have less to do with prom and more to do with school. 

That can be especially true for kids wrapped up with Advanced Placement, or AP, exams for subjects ranging from U.S. History to Computer Science.

By the end of this week, more than 80,000 high school students across Illinois will have taken more than 150,000 AP tests.The tests are scored out of five. A three or higher can earn them college credit, not to mention save Mom and Dad thousands of dollars.

It’s a lot of pressure, but students say the payoff is worth it. 

WBEZ dropped in on three suburban high schools—Niles West, Homewood Flossmoor and Riverside Brookfield—to hear what students had to say about the two-week testing period that ends Friday.

Despina Ades, a senior at Niles West High School in Skokie said the tests are “like a marathon for your brain.” Most tests last roughly three hours.

Other students talked about how little sleep they were getting.

“Really, I have enough time to sleep, I just don’t get much sleep because I’m really stressed,” said Emily Andrulis, a senior at Riverside Brookfield High School.

But the stress soon ends, as many AP teachers give students free time in class to work on projects or study for other exams after the AP tests are over.

The College Board sends students their scores in July.

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