AP students exceed national expectations yet again

Sarah Ehlen, Editor-in-Chief

Benlide-St. Margaret’s students, often known to exceed national expectations by taking on several advanced and honors courses a semester, transcended academic standards once again by attaining exceptional scores on the AP exams last spring.

Out of the 180 students who took AP tests in the spring of 2011, more than half achieved “success” on their exams. Success, as defined by the College Board, indicates a score of three or higher on any given test. “In last year’s numbers, 149 students scored a three, four, or five on their exams. That’s 82.3% of our students scoring in the success range,” said AP coordinator Ms. Amanda Anderson.

Although all of the AP exams offered at BSM scored high in comparison to the state and nation, several of the exams stood out above the rest. “AP Calculus exams, both AB and BC consistently return with high scores—ranging between 3.25 and 5. English Language and Composition and English Literature and Composition do well every year as well,” said Ms. Anderson.

Along with the ability to take multiple AP classes, BSM students are also privileged to have dedicated teachers who provide much to an advanced or honors education. “The teachers here who teach AP’s are very passionate about their subjects and really take the time to teach in depth. They teach not only with the goal of getting good exam scores, but also because they love what they teach,” said Ms. Anderson.

BSM students arrive at their exam very well prepared, even in situations where a semester has passed between the actual class and its AP exam. “Sometimes the tests and class placement in the year are timed badly, especially AP American Government. Students lose information after taking the class first semester and waiting for the exam in the spring,” said Ms. Anderson. Though BSM’s Social Studies scores may be lower due to this fact, students still do well in comparison to other schools.

Of course, all AP classes are optional for students, but it may be an educational benefit to take a few before high school is over. “Students who come back to talk about college always say that they’re thankful for their AP’s and that their senior year was killer; they were really prepared. The same types of test are given in college,” said Ms. Anderson.