Surviving the stress of advanced placement courses requires planning



Gemma Costuna, Rosemont High School

Is it Advanced Placement or Advanced Pressure?

A year’s worth of hard work and commitment by Advanced Placement students at Rosemont High School and nationwide is coming to an end, and the results of their efforts will be measured by the upcoming final exams administered by the College Board.

All Advanced Placement students know the stress, anxiety and uncertainty of this time of the year, of hoping they pass and gain college credit for their college level work. Students, teachers and testing experts offered the following  tips for managing stress and prioritizing mental health:

Sleep and eat well – The  Sleep Foundation (, an internet medical advice resource on sleep related issues, says on its website, “Poor sleep impacts your memory, creativity, and logical reasoning In other words, not sleeping enough impairs all the skills you need to perform well on a final exam. ‘All-nighters’ significantly impair cognitive performance, just as much as being intoxicated.”

The temptation to pull all-nighter cram sessions seems like a good idea in theory but the payoff of a good night’s sleep will be even more beneficial according to 

Prepare and prioritize – “The biggest thing is prioritization, preparation to relieve stress, self reflection, and being honest about what you know and don’t know. Also develop a plan on how to learn things you don’t know.” said Wesley Tite, an Advanced Placement US History teacher at Rosemont High School. “Knowing this is where I’m at and this what I need to do, goes a long way.”

Practice good time management – Tite recommended setting dedicated blocks of time for study, and allowing time to engage in favorite activities and complete items on your to-do-list.

 Talk to teachers, classmates and others – AP US History student Hailey Velarde.

“Utilizing your peers and not being afraid to ask for help are useful,” said Hailey Velarde, AP US History student.  “It could be of great service to ask your classmates for assistance and it will bring you great support during this time.” 

Tite added: “You aren’t alone in this marathon to cross the finish line of AP. Remember that you are not alone . . .  that’s the main message.”