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Determined Salem Students Face AP Testing Challenges

WSU Freshman Dionne Gives Pre-Test Pep Talk

Salem Waives Testing Fees

By Elizabeth Cayouette-Gluckman


For some Elizabethof Salem High’s best and brightest the first two weeks of May present a harrowing time: AP test week. Over the course of these two weeks students will take anywhere between one and six tests for a chance to receive college credit.

Scored on a 5-point scale, a passing grade is considered to be a 3. However, in order to receive credit at the vast majority of schools a 4 or a 5 is necessary.

Salem High students are provided the opportunity to take these tests free of charge, while at other schools students are expected to pay approximately $60 per test. This cost discourages many students from even attempting to pass the test, as they would rather save the money then risk the loss, and so it is fortunate that SHS students are afforded this risk-free chance to decrease the cost of their college classes.

Mikaela Dionne, of Salem High class of 2015, has just finished her first year at Worcester State University, and was able to “walk onto [her] new campus with a total of 12 college credits.” She saved over $4,400 with those credits, ignoring the costs of tuition, textbooks, and other expenses she would typically accrue while taking those classes.

IMG_6340Though the financial benefits of passing these tests are significant, what is perhaps even more valuable is the work ethic and essential skills that these courses teach to students, preparing them for the rigors of college classes and of their eventual careers.

Dionne says that AP classes made it possible for her to “develop college level academic skills” while still in high school. She adds, “although a numeric value can be placed on the significance of AP classes, in my own opinion they are far more valuable than any financial cost. [They] give high school students the opportunity…to develop skills that will not only help them succeed in college but also in life after higher education.”

Dionne was so passionate about the opportunities AP courses gave her that she recently visited Salem High in order to give the AP English Literature and Composition students a pre-test pep talk, encouraging them to get a good nights sleep and to do their best on all of their upcoming tests.

Junior Laura Barnes also places weight on the benefit of AP courses, regardless of her score on the test. Barnes says that her E
nglish teach, AbIMG_6336by Sherwood, “has taught me how to be a much better English student in ways that will help me way further than her class, including handling work load, developing study habits, and making sure I understand how to improve my writing, rather than just my grade.”
Barnes adds, “although this has been my hardest class, I appreciate the challenge and am very aware that this AP class has taken me much further than the honors class I almost took would have.”

This sentiment is clearly felt by countless students, as they continue to take increasingly AP heavy course loads. These classes prepare students for the rigor of college academics, while instilling positive study habits that the students will carry with them for life. Add to that the benefit of a chance for college credit, at no cost, and it is clear why students are ready and willing to spend as many as 18 hours testing.

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