Exploring exams in advanced placement classes


Dailey Jogan '24, Page Editor

May brings AP testing season to many students at South. With this added stress some advanced placement teachers opt to also have their students take their final during this time as well.

After spending the whole year preparing and learning for the AP test, not all teachers find testing students on the same topic matter again to be the best use of time. Shifting to a project-based approach is popular amongst AP classes and teachers, including Kristie Philliben, an advanced placement calculus teacher at South.

“We (the math department) felt like because they take the AP exam and that’s the culmination of what they’ve done,” Philliben said. “It seemed a little repetitive for them to have to then take another multiple choice. So what they’re doing for their project is researching two topics for me, things that we didn’t learn this year.”

Finding added benefits to having a project-style final, the math department works to push students’ knowledge base and encourage the expansion of their understanding of different math topics.

“They’re actually advancing their knowledge, they’re expanding into things that they can learn because they know enough, but they haven’t learned it in class yet,” Philliben said. “Then they’re going to present it and teach it to the class. It’s something that expands their knowledge, rather than having them redo the same thing.”

Many final exams also work on building students’ knowledge beyond the classes’ subject matter, including AP Language and Composition. Kevin Cox, an AP language and composition teacher, finds that the final is an opportunity to explore the future while having some fun.

“It’s kind of fun to have the end of the year in an AP class because the mood just lightens compared to the few weeks prior to the exam, but we still want to make it meaningful and beneficial to the students,” Cox said. “Our last few weeks are going to be focused on career and college planning, with resume crafting. The capstone is really working on and refining an application essay that they could use either for the common app or for a summer internship or a scholarship.”

Using this time to help students get a jumpstart on their future plans. Getting started on the work early can have more benefits for students than just completing the final project worth 20 percent of their grade.