Mock AP Government exam during wellness blocks defeats the purpose of “wellness”


Illustration by Rhea Noumar

It’s nearing the end of the school year; seniors are stressing over college admissions, sophomores and freshmen are stressing over next year’s classes and juniors are prepping for the SATs. All anyone wants right now is a day off at school without having to worry about any deadlines, due dates or tests and usually, that’s what the wellness activities provide after the SATs and PSATs. Just time to relax with friends and sign up for activities like soccer, basketball and art.

However, some AP classes this year, like AP Government, are offering mock AP testing during the wellness periods in preparation for the AP test coming up on May 2. The mock tests were thought of as a way to help prepare students for both the questions themselves and the environment of the testing room. The mock AP test, which will last both blocks of wellness, will feature multiple FRQs and an argumentative essay, similar to the actual AP test. Despite not being an actual test, it’s going to be treated as one.

Any sort of test usually stresses out the person taking it, no matter how hard you study for it. Whether it be a three point exit ticket in math or the knowledge test for the learner’s permit, the stress of studying, along with every other class, takes a toll on students’ mental health. There are many students taking multiple APs along with full honors classes and extracurricular activities; all they want is a break.

Our school is constantly advocating for wellness and mental health. However, not enough is done to actually implement stress reducing techniques. The wellness periods we have every Wednesday are usually not even practiced regularly. Just because we have half days or days off, doesn’t mean we are taking those days off. So many students use the time they have off on school-related activities. It’s true that WJ has managed to achieve test scores higher than both the district and state average, but at what cost?

Instead of going out to play soccer with friends during the SAT wellness blocks, students had to sacrifice their mental health for a better score on the AP Exam. In AP Government, there was a 55 point unit test that featured two FRQ’s and 40 multiple choice questions about two weeks prior to the mock AP exam. There will be a quiz the day before the mock AP writing portion, and there will be a graded argumentative essay on the day after.

Although the mock AP test is optional, many students feel obligated to go as it prepares them for the real exam. Instead, the mock test should be treated like the mock SATs, hosted on the weekend and in the cafeteria or auditorium. It is understandable that students and teachers wouldn’t want to come in on the weekend, but at least there would be a day of guaranteed rest before or after.

The mock AP tests are a good idea, and I’m not taking away from that; they are necessary to help students achieve higher scores on the AP Exam. However, it should be emphasized that the date of the mock test is flexible, and students’ mental health isn’t.