For many students, annual Advanced Placement testing is an event that causes pain and misery. However, for some students, the pain caused by this testing can be classified as outright torture. One of the students that felt such torture this year was Calvin Cheng, a junior at CVHS.
While most students who participate in Advanced Placement (AP) testing only choose to take a few of the rigorous exams, Cheng took a staggering 11 AP tests, and did not even receive formal preparation (i.e., a class) for four of them.
“Getting prepared for one or two AP exams can be challenging, but taking on 11 is quite a monumental task,” said Duane Magno, a CVHS counselor.
Cheng’s reasoning for taking 11 tests was that they would improve his chances of getting admitted into a prestigious college.
“I really want to attend an Ivy League school as an undergraduate. Those AP tests were just a means to an end, in this regard,” said Cheng.
AP tests are given every year in May, and can earn students college credit or bolster their college admissions résumé if they achieve a sufficient score. Each test is scored on a scale of one to five, with a five being the highest score possible. A three is considered a passing score.
The 11 tests that Cheng took are: U.S. History, Calculus AB, Chemistry, Microeconomics, Statistics, English Language and Composition, Japanese, Comparative Government and Politics, Psychology, Human Geography, and Environmental Science. The total cost of taking the exams was a massive $1,327. Luckily, Cheng was given a discount that lowered the cost of his exams to $887.
Cheng prepared for his tests by, “doing practice tests, reading free-response questions [from previous tests] like crazy, and mainlining coffee to stay awake.” To prepare for the tests for which he received no formal preparation, his only form of studying was “lots of reading.”
Cheng’s 11 AP tests are likely unprecedented for a CVHS student.
“In my time at our school, I cannot recall any student who has taken such a high number of AP examinations,” stated Magno.
For those keeping score, the College Board offers 34 AP exams. Since Cheng has taken three exams in previous years, his 11 this year give him 14 exams in total. He now needs to take only 20 more to master the world of AP testing.