Seniors weigh significance of  AP exams


As the end of the school year rapidly approaches, seniors are finding themselves participating in high school activities for the last time. It might be their last time taking a certain class, seeing a certain teacher, and for many, the last time taking AP exams. Emotions from AP exams come in a variety of different forms.  For some seniors, the test is more stressful than it has been in their previous years, but for others, it can be less stressful. 

Sami Khayatei Houssaini, a senior at Berkeley High School, is taking the AP Calculus BC and AP Physics C exams and is committed to UC Berkeley. “I would say that now that I know where I’m going to (college), AP matters a little more because I can get some college credit for the AP tests I’m taking this year, especially for math,” Khayatei Houssaini said. “If I do well enough on the test, I can get two semesters of calculus off which can let me jump directly to a higher level math and that’s very useful.” 

“I paid for the test, and I’m going to spend three hours taking it, so it would be nice to do well on it.”

Sami Khayatei Houssaini

Emma Claus, a senior going to UC Davis, is planning on taking four AP exams, with hopes of getting college credits. Even though obtaining college credit is the goal, according to Claus, it could have been a lot more stressful. “I applied to a lot of colleges, and some colleges I got into were conditional based on my AP exams and the scores I got. So if I had decided to commit to those, the stress would have been incredibly high,” Claus said. “One of the conditionals was getting three fives (on the AP exams), so if I had committed to that college I would be extremely stressed. On the other hand, UC Davis doesn’t have a conditional.”

Jesse Pabico, an AP Physics C and AP Physics 1 teacher at BHS sees different stress levels among his senior AP classes. According to Pabico, AP Physics C students “generally tend to be more stressed about the test” as colleges usually give more college credit towards AP Physics C compared to AP Physics 1. Pabico also noted if students don’t need the college credits, they might end up not taking the AP exam at all. “I think (their stress levels) depend on the program they’re getting into,” Pabico said.

For Khayatei Houssaini, who’s planning on studying Economics, the AP Physics exam probably won’t be used as college credit. “(It’s) a little bit stressful now,” Khayatei Houssaini said. “I paid for the test, and I’m going to spend three hours taking it, so it would be nice to do well on it.”