Do students feel more stress during the second semester?

Many students can encounter overwhelming stress as the pressure of combining exams with grades mounts toward the end of the year.

Photo courtesy Pinterest

Many students can encounter overwhelming stress as the pressure of combining exams with grades mounts toward the end of the year.

The second semester of the 2022-2023 school year began on Monday, Jan. 30. While students will be equally focused on grades for both semesters, one of the biggest differences in the second semester is the AP exam season which runs from May 1 to May 12. Most students at WJ take one or more exams in this timeframe and dedicate much of their time to studying for them.

Apart from AP exams, the end of the year also brings along many other responsibilities for students. Upperclassmen shift their focus to SATs, ACTs, college applications and potential summer jobs.

“I guess that in terms of the SAT and other tests, I do feel more stress during the second semester,” junior Vincent Romand-Hevyer said.

Members of the APEX program are required to take nine APs before graduation, this means that students are taking at least one AP every year. For first-time takers, it can be a stressful and mysterious experience to prepare for. The first AP taken by most students is AP Gov–which is a three-hour exam that is composed of a 60 question multiple choice session and four different free response questions (FRQ).

Students new to WJ and the AP program may feel more comfortable than upperclassmen.

“I don’t really feel more stressed out because I already did one semester of high school so I feel like I have it down,” freshman Carlos Silva said.

Taking multiple APs as many students do can prove to be even more stressful due to the small window of time in which the exams take place. Having multiple exams in one week is likely and it is even possible that you have to take multiple exams in one day.

This year, the AP US History and AP Microeconomics exams will both take place on May. 5. The APUSH exam takes approximately three hours and 15 minutes to complete and since it will begin at eight in the morning, students taking AP Micro that same day will only have 45 minutes to rest.

This unnecessary cramming and rushing of the AP Exams can adversely affect students’ performances in school. There are many highly demanding courses that require students to study as much as they would for an AP, yet students are often expected to study for both at the same time and maintain the same level of performance.

Considering the dollar cost for each exam, you would expect it to be more focused on what works best for the students. The cost of each exam can add anxiety to students who feel pressured to get their money’s worth and pass.

Similarly to the AP program, the SAT and ACT are two major exams that can play an influential role in college admissions. Students focused on their future studies in college could also be affected by the admissions process combined with maintaining a good GPA.