Every April, high school juniors and their families journey around the country to fulfill what is commonly known as the Spring Break Marathon–the week-long excursion filled with college information sessions and campus tours. After getting a glimpse of what their prospective futures could be like as independent college students, these juniors are forced to bury their noses amidst dense pages of AP Psychology and SAT preparation textbooks in order to ensure their success during the dreaded month of May, and the surplus of examinations that accompanies it.
Because the SAT, SATII, ACT, and AP exams all occur within a few days of one another, juniors are forced to ask themselves the dire question: sleep, or study? It seems as though Madison High School students have chosen the latter option this week, as many of them are juggling more than one AP class, and were also present at the high school at promptly 7:45 a.m. this past Saturday morning, ready to take the SAT.
As a result, the classrooms and hallways of MHS are currently filled with droopy-eyed students, all moving at a slightly slower pace than usual and occasionally collapsing into unconsciousness in the middle of a lesson, faces pressed against their notebooks or desktops. Teachers have displayed a considerable amount of understanding toward those students who have AP exams in other classes this week or next; many are lightening the homework load and postponing tests until exams are over.
Junior Lainie Rowland, who is taking exams this week in both AP United States History and AP English Literature, remarks that her pre-calculus teacher has been especially sympathetic. “She’s been giving us a lot of time to work in class,” says Lainie, “and she made sure to schedule a quiz on a day when none of her students had to take an AP test.”
But even such compassion does not slow the racing heart rates of students sitting at wooden tables arranged into neat rows in the library, pencils poised above their scantron sheets as they anxiously await the clock to strike eight so that their exam can begin. “Pretty soon it’ll all be over,” says optimistic junior Becca Johnson, “that’s what I keep telling myself.” Undoubtedly, it is difficult for students to prevail through the sleep deprivation and anxiety, but they can each take solace in the fact that they are surviving the experience together.
Monday, May 7, marked the beginning of AP exams. There are only 10 more days and counting before the ritualistic bonfire fueled by stacks of AP practice workbooks can begin.