A very interesting, January 7th New York Times article entitled “Rethinking Advanced Placement” discussed impending changes to the AP exam system. This article was part of a larger section on college admissions and education that is certainly worth checking out if you haven’t already done so. The article on changes to the AP system raises a myriad of questions, both as to what this means for the high school student and what it signifies for the prospective college student.
According to the New York Times:
Next month, the board, the nonprofit organization that owns the A.P. exams as well as the SAT, will release a wholesale revamping of A.P. biology as well as United States history — with 387,000 test takers the most popular A.P. subject.
This year and next year, the exams will remain the same as they’ve been in years past, but, beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, “drastic changes” will come into effect. These changes largely involve a stronger focus on critical thinking, at the expense of rote memorization. The majority of exams are being revamped and revisited by College Board, with the exception of the math and English exams.
What does this mean for you, the student? Well, as far as I can tell, it’ll make self-studying much more manageable. The main problem right now with self-studying AP exams (especially history and science exams) is that it is very difficult to remember vast amounts of information that is simply read out of a text book. The new exams will reward critical thinking, so the information-driven “cramming” sessions will become a thing of the past. Furthermore, streamlined self-studying makes for higher scores on the exams which, of course, means more college credit!
Furthermore, this will go a long way towards making your life as a student much less stressful. It will be easier to handle several AP classes at once (considering the amount of data needed to be remembered will be significantly less) which will allow you to devote more time towards working on your EC’s or to relaxing.
While the article on the AP exam system is fascinating in and of itself, the entire New York Times Education Life section is a great read. I especially enjoyed the articles on the personal essay and the effect that volunteering has on an application. What do you think?
(Photo by amanda_munoz)