Creating A Better AP Test (Part 3): the Atmosphere

This is part 3 of a series on creating a better AP test. If you’re just tuning in, or missed a post, you should read the first and second parts, well, first and second.

While turning the AP test process into a live musical would go a long way into making it almost bearable, that isn’t the only reason you become instantly depressed as soon as you sit down in the testing room. Another problem is the general atmosphere.

Normally, for any other test, you’d sit in a familiar classroom, sitting close enough to your peers that you can make jokes about how little you each studied. (“Dude, I went home and slept for six hours! Then I woke up, and went to bed! I’m so ruined for this test.” “Man that’s nothin’, I went home and actually un-learned half the info, then ate seventeen burgers, and then partied with my pet bird all night. I’m totally gonna fail hahaha.”)

For AP tests, however, you’ll sit alone at a table or desk, far enough away from your peers that a cruise ship, and half the Atlantic Ocean, could fit between you.

Now, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing as far as anti-cheating policies go, but it makes it pretty lonely and depressing.

Obviously, then, CollegeBoard should take a page from the “How to Keep Dental Patients from Screaming Every Six Seconds: For Dummies” book. If you’ve ever been to a dentist’s or orthodontist’s, you’ll notice they’ll have seasonal decorations all over the place. Sure, they’re usually left over from a season or two ago, but as they drill that tooth it’s still nicer to look at smiling, sunglass-wearing suns rather than plain gray walls as the snow piles up outside.

I mean, CollegeBoard isn’t exactly poor; they’ve got a literal monopoly on the AP test business, SAT market, and oil industry*. Surely they could afford to buy some crepe-paper and paper cut-outs to decorate the room with. The only downside I can see is that some students might try to hang themselves with the crepe paper during the FRQ section, but that’s why they make crepe paper so flimsy.

*Surprisingly, few people seem to know this. Perhaps because some people don’t think it’s true.

Tomorrow we’ll post the final installment to this earth-shattering series, and the part you’ve all been waiting for: the AP Number Labels. (Update: it’s been posted.)

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