Skipping School for AP Exams

Maya Madhat, Staff Writer

*The opinions expressed within the content are solely the author’s and do not reflect the website’s or its affiliates’ opinions and beliefs.*

Approximately 64.2% of UHS students are enrolled in an Advanced Placement (AP) course, and of that, a large margin continues to take the exam. These exams are designed to assess a student’s college-level knowledge and are highly regarded by universities and colleges across the U.S. Given the high stakes involved, students must have the time and space they need to adequately prepare for these exams. Accordingly, students should not be required to attend school during AP exam week.

AP exams are incredibly demanding; they require extensive studying and preparation, often over several months. Students need to review a year’s worth of material, master complex concepts and develop critical thinking skills. These exams also require a great deal of mental stamina, as students oftentimes need to focus for several hours straight to perform at their best. By not attending school during AP exams, students can devote all of their time and energy to studying for these tests without any distractions or interruptions.

Furthermore, attending school during AP exam weeks can be highly disruptive to a student’s preparation. Regular classes and homework can take up valuable study time, and attending school can also be emotionally draining. Students may feel anxious or overwhelmed by the prospect of taking multiple exams in a short period, and this stress can be compounded by the demands of regular coursework. By being excused from school during AP exams, students can focus solely on their tests and can better manage their stress levels.

In a 2016 study, psychologist Karrie Godwin and a team of researchers found that students who needed to focus on multiple tasks have trouble concentrating and performing well on exams. Students often feel anxious regarding exams and feel more comfortable when they are given time and space to perform hard tasks accordingly.

Additionally, attending regular classes during AP testing can create logistical problems. Students may miss important review sessions or other crucial information to attend regular classes. This can make it difficult for students to stay on track with their exam preparation, and requiring students to show up to school during this week may also lead to increased stress and anxiety.

Not attending school during APs can have a positive impact on a student’s mental and physical health. Sleep is essential for both memory consolidation and stress management, and attending school during this time can disrupt a student’s sleep schedule. By not attending school, students can get the rest they need to perform at their best.

Schools might be concerned that reduced attendance would increase missed classwork and may be difficult to catch up on later. While it is true that AP exams are important, it’s also important for students to maintain their academic progress in their other classes. Schools also have to meet the California Education Code requirements for student attendance. Because of this requirement, it is unlikely that schools would choose to extend the school year to make up for absences during AP testing. By missing one to two weeks of school, students may struggle to catch up on missed work, which could hurt their grades. However, many students would benefit from having the ability to miss school during such an important time in their academic careers. 

In conclusion, students should not attend school during APs. These exams are highly demanding and require a great deal of preparation and focus. By being excused from regular classes, students can devote all of their time and energy to studying for these exams. This can help students to better manage their stress levels, stay on track with their preparation and ultimately perform at their best on these important exams.