A comprehensive guide to AP season!

Dear juniors, some seniors, a growing number of sophomores, and I hope no freshmen,

Hello! I heard many students whispering about the prestigious AP tests, and I feel it is my responsibility to set the record straight.

The most important thing for you to know about these tests is that they are completely optional. You do not have to take any AP test if you don’t want to. A fair warning should be given that picking this path might result in stilted, back-handed compliments from your classmates applauding your decision to abstain from test taking before they recite the 30 standardized tests they have elected to participate in.

And even though signing up for the test may be optional, changing your mind is strictly discouraged. Oh, did no one tell you that you have to decide which APs you would like to participate in by early November? Don’t worry at all. You will definitely know which May exams you want to take when you are barely two months into school. And even if you don’t, there is only a $40 fee for deciding you no longer want to participate.

Will anyone tell you which ones you should take? No. But you’ll just know. People say it’s like falling in love. When you scroll through the list of offered tests and lock eyes with the AP English Literature and Composition Exam, it will feel like fate. Past students have described the decision to sign up for a test like a magnetic pull, completely uninfluenced by any parental or collegiate pressures.

If you are having trouble making a decision, ask an upperclassman who has already taken the exam. Hearing someone who has blocked out the stress and mental exhaustion from their mind tell you, “It was fine!” or “I got a five without studying!” is just the input you need to make an educated decision.

Once you make the plunge into the nearly $100 commitment, you have the pleasure of forgetting about AP tests for the next six months. Well, in all honesty, that depends on what class and teacher you have. Some might spend the entire school year drilling you with nothing but rhetorical devices and sample free-response questions, while others might never speak of the tests until the night before.

For those of you who are in an AP-designated class, the weight that the letters “AP” add to your transcript is enough, so don’t even worry about the test. Unless you are taking it, then you should probably worry. Oh, especially if you are in AP Physics because I heard that it’s the hardest AP test ever and, like, everyone fails. Or AP US History, because I heard that unless you read the 560-page course review, you are going to fail and embarrass yourself. But no pressure!

To all of those self-studiers out there, I’m here to provide you with a comprehensive list of tried and true study plans that will lead you to success:

1. Study hard for the exams—they will get you into college.

2. But don’t study too hard; they don’t actually matter and are useless.

3. All you need to do is sleep well the night before the test.

4. I’d also advise cramming until three a.m. since you haven’t learned half of the material yet. And to the teachers and administrators, please do not

offer us any more guidance! We thoroughly love making these decisions blindly. And, most of all, make sure that every teacher prepares us for the tests completely differently. You always make sure to keep us on our toes.

I hope this proved helpful and cleared up all of the contradictory advice flooding our school about these tests. But, if you learned nothing from this, please remember the most important part of the entire process: It is imperative that immediately after taking the test, when asked how it went, you respond, “not bad at all.”

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