Announcements, Short Stories

Graduation

Ah, the week has finally come. I have worked twelve long years to reach this week. Graduation! How sweet the word sounds when I say it, except for when I think about the ceremony I have to attend to get it over with. My graduating class is made up of about 420 other nervous, motivationless teenagers like myself. I think the part I dread most about the whole thing is that, because my last name starts with a “V”, I have to sit in a chair, my heart racing for eternity, while I wait to be called. I know I’m getting a medal at graduation. Will I trip on the stage? Will I look a complete dork when I walk across it? Will I be able to stand my principal long enough to let him hand me my diploma? Will I cry? I can see all of the worst-scenario events happening.

Granted, I’m probably making way too big a deal out of this, but it is probably the biggest event I’ve ever been a part of, and I want it to go quickly and according to plan, whatever the plan may be. Also, my school colors are purple and yellow, and my gown is a giant purple blob. It is not a dull purple either: more like a neon purple, if there is such a thing. I feel like a giant eggplant going to sing in a choir when I wear it, minus the green and the choir book. Oh well, no one said I had to look pretty. Who came up with the acceptable graduation attire anyway? You’ve got to admit, graduation caps look pretty silly if you think about it. Who just decided that wearing a giant, cardboard square on the top of your head was attractive, or that it marked scholarly achievement? I just don’t understand it.

Well, I imagine I’ll be able to tell you all about how it went in a couple of days, if you’re interested, so stay tuned. There’s sure to be wonderful tails of embarrassment coming! :p

Advice, Announcements

What a Week!

Okay, so you’ve probably noticed by now that I haven’t posted in a loooong time. Like, two weeks, at least. Sorry if you’ve been depending on my writing prompts. I’ll try to get back to them soon. (Although I really doubt that any of you have really been thinking, “Wow, I wish there was a new ‘Aspire to Write’ post to read,” but if you have actually thought this, I’m honored. I would be even more so if you would tell me about it. 🙂 Anyway, I think now would be a good time to explain myself, or rather, the lack thereof.

This week, I had AP Exams. Now, if you don’t know what an AP exam is, you are (or were) either very lucky, smart enough not to self-inflict unnecessary pain on yourself in high school, or are (were) too lazy to attempt college courses before graduation. Basically, an AP exam is a test that usually lasts about 3 1/2 hours and follows the completion of a college level (Advanced Placement) course. It is meant to reward those who worked diligently throughout the year by appropriating a grade that equates to a specific number of college credits, which varies depending on the college. So, now that you know what it is, let me tell you more.

Before I continue, it is important to note that I did not say I had an AP EXAM. No, I had AP EXAMS, plural. In fact, I have undergone approximately fifteen hours of testing during the course of this week alone. I guess you could say I’m a pro now.

In order to avoid making this entire post sound like a pity party, I will try to offer you any tips that might possibly be of help to you if you are planning on taking an AP exam or exams. If by chance you have already taken them, and don’t plan on taking any more, you can simply read this article and reminisce about all the time you wasted back in high school and kick yourself for the things you didn’t do but should have done in preparation.

  1. Don’t wait to start studying until the last semester. This was a mistake on my part. I should have begun studying for the AP exams literally on the first day of school. It is never too early to begin, especially if you aren’t accustomed to timed tests and difficult, involved questions that require more thought than any question presented on an SOL.
  2. AP prep books are useful. I know that they are expensive, and that they are thick, and that they look utterly boring and arduous, but do not underestimate their ability to help you become efficient at taking AP style tests. If there is any way that you can get your hands on one, you are a lucky soul, my blog-reading friend. Most of the books are limited to one subject and contain a number of practice tests and questions, as well as summaries of all the topics within the said subject that you need to know for the exam. Because the AP exams are frequently redesigned, it helps to have the newest edition possible, but a few years difference will still be helpful.
  3. Time yourself when you practice. If you are like me, timed tests freak you out, big time. I can understand a topic completely, yet when I sit down to take the test and realize that I’m only technically supposed to be using a minute per question, I blunder, big time. (And yes, for most AP exams, the test writers recommend using about a minute and a half for each question, and there are usually about sixty questions and sometime between sixty to ninety minutes to complete them.) I know this all sounds terrible, but if you prepare by practicing with the amount of time that you will be provided with on the actual test, you will be much better off when it comes to test day.

Alright, so I think that’s about all the helpful advice I can squeeze out of my brain right now, but if you have any questions at all about what it’s like to take AP exams, or how else I prepared, please feel free to leave your questions in the comments. I’ll be happy to answer them. Hope this article is helpful for someone out there. 🙂