Effect of snow days on AP classes


Mr. Schwartz enthusiastically gets his students prepared for the AP test. (Courtesy of Jack Linde)

Ashwin Kammula and Seth Cohen

For students at WJ, snow days have been a pleasant surprise which has broken up the typically stressful final weeks before the end of the first semester. Though snow days are often perceived as great, many students do not consider the negative impacts that these snow days possess.

The Montgomery County Public School system has only built in two days for snow. MCPS has selected dates, around spring break and at the end of the school year to make up for the days missed if, in fact, the two built in day aren’t enough.

Students often don’t acknowledge that AP test dates are not pushed back due to number of snowdays that we receive. While a few snow days here and there may not seem like much, over the course of the winter, their impact can be costly in a student’s preparation for an AP exam. AP classes are regarded for their fast-pace and rigorous nature. These courses cover an enormous amount of material, and covering all of it before the AP exam can be a struggle. AP teachers follow a strict schedule leading up to that early May exam. Even a single snow day can completely disorient a teacher’s plans.

So far this winter, MCPS has had a total of two snow days, two 2-hour delays, and one early release day (delays and early releases don’t contribute to the two built in days). With almost two more months remaining in winter, there will surely be more snow days, and preparing students for the AP exam will be an increasingly more difficult task.

AP Biology is one of the most challenging and rigorous AP courses in the school. Science teacher Khanh Chau, however, isn’t fazed by the snow days.

“We’re lucky AP bio is a double period, but we have to make modifications to the schedule and make use of the online classroom,” Chau said.

AP US and World history teacher Nathan Schwartz believes that the snow days result in changing the way he teaches the course.

“I just have to speed up and teach the content faster. I don’t go as in depth, but I make sure to finish the content,” Schwartz explained.

Schwartz also believes that the snow days aren’t the only thing impacting the classes.

“If we started school before labor day, I don’t think the snow days would be as much of a big deal when preparing for AP exams,” Schwartz said.

So what say the students? Senior Isaac Rose gladly expressed his thoughts on the snow days.

“The snow days give me an opportunity to relax my brain, but study more and catch up on homework,” Rose expressed.

With the snow days beginning to pile up, it’ll be interesting to see what impacts come up on the AP test schedule. But for right now, the teachers will still stick to their schedules and the students will try to keep up with the pace.