Student advice: handling May testing

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With the end of the school year steadily approaching comes the loads of finals and standardized tests that all students dread. However, on top of that burden, most students at Townsend Harris take on the added stress of Advanced Placement exams and SAT subject tests.

SAT subject tests are in-depth tests administered by The College Board on individual topics multiple times throughout the year. Many students choose to take their subject tests at the end of the year, especially if the test coincides with one of the classes they are taking that semester. The College Board also creates Advanced Placement exams, giving students the chance to earn college credits while still in high school, which looks good on college applications.

Students choose to study in different ways, with independent studying serving as one of the more popular methods. The plethora of available review books allow students to take their own time to thoroughly peruse information and take practice tests to assess their knowledge. Among surveyed students, Kaplan, Barron’s and Princeton Review are the most popular review books.  Students insist that taking time aside to review class notes and outlines help as well.

The thick review books with a year or more’s worth of course material  can be overwhelming, but junior Abdoulaye Diallo has his own accommodating system.

He explained, “Typically I look at the syllabus for a course and may begin supplementing what we learn in class with a Review Book geared towards that AP Class or Honors Class. So it’s studying cumulatively. Although, one can manage to cram for a test. Review books are even organized in that manner; they have a guide of how to use and divide the book depending on the amount of time you have left until the exam.”

Senior Gabriela


Kluzinski chimed in with her own advice: “For studying you have to know under what circumstances you perform the best. Everyone responds to different types of pressures but personally, the stress of a deadline has always pushed me to work harder.”

Some students believe that their teachers make taking the exams easy through the use of AP-style questions.

Sophomore Noreen Mohsin adds, “My teacher…has really thoroughly covered the


we need to know and has been giving us practice questions and essays to prepare for the real test, as well as helpful tips and other information.”

A common idea seems to be practicing old exams and familiarizing yourself with the format and timing of the test.

Junior Patrick Nian reinforces the importance of practice and says, “Take plenty of practice tests to know the format and timing of the test like the palm of your hand.”

In agreement with his peers about self-studying, senior Kevin Schneider stated, “The teachers did as much as they could, but I feel I relied more on myself than anyone else while taking these courses.”

Senior Minhaj Rahman favors a very strategic preparation for these exams and urges, “AP courses are college courses so they do contain a lot of information…break down chapters into weeks and you get closer to the test day and that will help you stay organized and avoid late night cram sessions before the test.”

Abdoulaye offers advice to every student who is contemplating taking any AP classes, but is fearful of the exams. He expressed, “If a student wants to be challenged, I don’t see any reason to let an AP exam or SAT II be a deciding factor. If a student truly wants to learn and master a subject, the AP exam or SAT II they take at the end of the year should be an indicator of how well they mastered a particular subject.”

Sophomore Rifat Ahmed voiced, “It’s important to take courses and tests that interest you…do what will ultimately make you happy.”