Are the Advanced Placement Mock Exams Actually Beneficial?


Matthew Luhrsen, an AP student.

Matt Jones, Staff Writer

It’s February now, and for most students at ODA, academic life is finally regaining momentum after a long Christmas break. The average student is usually only concerned with only a periodic test or quiz every week or so, and a few other petty assignments to supplement their coursework.

But for the more academically competitive students, the month of February is comparable to the rising of dawn, the precursor for what is to come in the next three months. But why do these students with especially rigorous schedules look ahead so far into the academic future?

There is only one three-word answer to this dilemma: Advanced Placement testing.

An Advanced Placement test (AP for short), is a final test for every AP class made by the College Board. Testing for all AP courses takes place through the month of May. AP tests are three hours, with different sections receiving specific time restraints. AP students have to take a final for their AP class so they can get a score that they can send to colleges, hopefully to earn college credit. This score is reflective of both the course itself and the student’s achievement.

So how do students at ODA ultimately study for these important AP tests? Say hello to the AP mock exam.

Mock exams are essentially a version of the real AP exam that teachers give to their students in mid February to prepare them for the real one in May. Students are expected to show up at 8:00 a.m on a Saturday to sit for a three and half hour exam, just for practice. To encourage students, taking the mock test is a required part of the course underlining just how important the school feels this practice is.

But truly how important is a student’s success on a trial run test?

AP US History teacher Ken Sommers thinks that mock exams are integral for success on the real AP exam in May.

Mr. Sommers is getting ready for this year's AP US History mock exam
Mr. Sommers is getting ready for this year’s AP US History mock exam

“I think it might be the most important thing we do. It gives a lot of experience, so there is not a lot of surprises on test day, and students get feedback before the test day,” says Mr. Sommers.

Most students agree with Mr. Sommers and understand that it is better to get a feel for the test instead of just waiting until April to study for the big final test.

Matthew Luhrsen, a sophomore taking two AP history courses, also likes the idea of taking AP mock exams.

“I think they are a real help since they will be taking questions from past exams and it helps you learn how to study and to get a sense of what’s going to be on the real thing,” says Luhrsen.

Matthew Luhrsen is more than prepared for his AP mock exams.
Matthew Luhrsen is more than prepared for his AP mock exams.

Junior Chloe Ruppert says that her score on her mock AP US History course was lower than her actual score on the AP.

“I thought that the mock was more difficult than the actual exam, and in effect it made me study more for the real exam,” Says Ruppert.

But what about other subjects that are also AP courses?

Mr. Newhams does not know if giving a mock exam would improve student scores because he has never given one in the past.

“Instead, I had been using class time for students to critically think out loud as they answer AP questions together,” says Newhams.

Mr. Newhams is more than enthusiastic about preparing AP Bio students for the real exam in May.
Mr. Newhams is more than enthusiastic about preparing AP Bio students for the real exam in May.

So do mock exams really help students to prepare for the real exams in May that will determine their final success in the class? Or are these tests just “mocking” AP students at ODA? Time will tell. The real APs are right around the corner.

For inquires about AP testing in May, please see College Counseling in the coming weeks, as they work diligently to post the finalized AP testing schedule for the month of May.