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Turns Out, You Really Should Study for Those AP Exams

How it feels to punt three hours of your life on the AP Psychology Test

Photo by "Teaching High School Psychology"

Photo by "Teaching High School Psychology"

Tom Hermanek, Features Editor

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Like many stories of bad decisions go, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Back in February, I had the chance to take an AP Psychology exam, an opportunity to earn a college credit that would be nearly universally accepted. Since I was already dual enrolled for the psychology course through the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO), I would not have to pay to take the test. So, thinking that I might decide to go to a prestigious college that would decline the UNO credit, I signed up for the test.

Fast forward a few weeks. My counselor, Mrs. Klosterman, emailed me to verify that I truly wished to take the AP test before she officially ordered it. This was my chance to opt out, although I blew it by choosing to go through with the test that I was sure I would study for.

Weeks passed. For so long, the May 1 test date seemed eons away. Then, last week hit, and I realized that the test for which students prepare for weeks was just days away. Still, I failed to prepare, thereby preparing to fail.

I wondered if I could simply not take the test, but when signing up for the test, I agreed to pay the $89 fee myself if I didn’t take it.

Deciding that three hours of my life was not worth $89, I took the test with precisely zero preparation.

The multiple choice portion gave me the impression that maybe I wouldn’t perform so poorly after all, as I worked fairly smoothly through its 100 questions.

However, the free response portion was still to come.

I was soon asked to explain how different psychological concepts and terms related to certain situations, and it was far from pretty.

When I was asked to describe the role the drive-reduction theory plays in eating behavior, I knew I was in way over my head.

I only knew the definitions of about half of the terms, and I had no option but to slip the remaining terms into my writing without being too descriptive or obvious about my lack of knowledge.

Regardless of my performance on the test, since I dual-enrolled, I’ll still receive some form of credit for the class, even if I receive a less than stellar score on the AP test.

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Turns Out, You Really Should Study for Those AP Exams