By Samantha Krevolin
The moment the proctor says “pencils down; this is now the end of your AP Exam,” a sigh of relief is heard around the room. Students run out of the lower gym in excitement, knowing that they conquered perhaps their hardest class. All of the late nights studying, difficult assignments and challenging tests have finally paid off!
However, it is only May, so school is not quite over yet! Classes continue, yet AP courses are done… Students, with exception of the seniors, have to go back to class every day, even though they have completed the AP curriculum. Because of this, Byram Hills’ students often wonder: what happens in AP classes after exams are over?
This question is difficult to answer because it differs for every class. AP science classes take a different path than AP history courses, and there is even great variety among each department. Many students believe that once AP exams are finished, there is no longer any work in these classes. This, however, is not necessarily the case. Although all of the AP level material has been learned, students sometimes have to take a final exam or Regents. As the curriculum for an AP class ends with the AP exam, teachers take different approaches as to what the students will be doing for the rest of the year.
With so many AP courses offered at Byram Hills, teachers tend to take a different approach on what to do after the exam based on the class and the subject area. With that in mind, there are also some commonalities between classes in what they do post-AP’s as well. For instance, AP science courses generally work on mini-labs or projects after the exam. Rachel Chernoff, a junior in AP Biology, talked about her class and explained that they have done “mini projects since the end of the exam to further gain knowledge on the subject… and have also watched movies related to biology including Gattaca.” Likewise, in my AP Physics class, we have done mini projects including building a bottle rocket that can safely land an egg without cracking it. We have also gone on a field trip to Lake Compounce Amusement Park in order to see how the concepts we learned in class have real-world applications.
AP history courses turn away from the mini projects and take a different route after AP exams. Rather, students often watch movies related to the history course they took. For example, in AP World History, students watch movies such as Hotel Rwanda and Bridge of Spies, while students in AP US History watch movies such as Argo and Saving Private Ryan. Ben Kahn, a junior in AP US History, really likes this style of class after the exam and explains, “It is nice that the class gets to have time to relax and reflect on the year since we worked so hard and learned so much.” In addition to watching movies, history classes sometimes take practice Regents as they are required to take this exam in June.
Additionally, AP English classes follow another path for lessons after the AP exam. Julia Barnett, a junior in AP English 11, concluded, “While my AP English class is definitely a little more relaxed, the test was only a part of our curriculum and we continue to work daily to improve our English skills.” Since the AP exam, the students have read their last novel of the year, The Great Gatsby, and have continued to improve their English skills with writing assignments. Julia also shares that the students have been preparing for the end of the school year by “taking practice Regents and writing colleges essays, which has been a very educational experience.”
Although all AP courses follow their own unique path after these exams, there is one thing in common: the sense of relief felt by both students and teachers alike. As May has come and gone, students continue to learn and share their knowledge through mini projects, educational movies, and preparation for finals. And with the end of AP exams, the students’ excitement grows as they are one step closer to the end of the year!