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My First AP Final Test: Biology

By Emmanuel Garit, 12th Grade

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The alarm blared in my ear. The standard-set sound was my regular week-day signal to prepare for school, but today was different; it was louder. The day started off tense as I awoke sharply at 6:00 AM. I hurried to get ready, throwing some clothes on and dashing to the bathroom. While brushing my teeth, I stopped for a while and just stared at my reflection in the tiny, circular mirror to the side of the faucet. “You can do this,” I thought to myself, ignoring the nervous state I was in. I finished up and headed out to the car. It was still dark, the sky covered in clouds with slim apertures of moonlight shining through. Paranoia was slowly taking over, and I couldn’t stop it. I knew my first AP exam wasn’t going to be easy.

When I arrived at school, I was dead-tired. I still had twenty minutes until mandatory attendance in room 4101, so I decided to go to my AP Biology teacher’s room.

“Good morning, everybody!” I exclaimed as I virtually busted through the door. With everyone still half asleep, they frankly didn’t care. A few of my peers were already here, one step ahead of me.

“Are you prepared for your AP test, Emmanuel? If you have any questions, now would be the time to ask,” stated Dr. Yoham, my AP teacher.

“No, sir, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” I replied.

“Good, while you’re here, you’re welcome to grab some bagels and cream cheese if you’d like. We also have some orange juice,” he said.

“Of course, sir. Thank you.” After sharing breakfast with a portion of my class, we all headed down together to room 4101. On the way, someone thought they were funny and called it the “forbidden room”. When we arrived, my two friends David and Richard were already standing by the doorway.

“Why didn’t you guys go to Yoham’s room?” I asked.

Being the smart-mouthed people they were, they replied, “Why didn’t you come here?” I ignored them as I was too tired to joke around. We waited another five minutes before the test moderator showed up. He was tall and stout. He wore glasses, a buttoned-down short-sleeve shirt, and khaki pants. He lumbered past us and stuck his key in the lock. There was a sharp, intimidating sound as the door unlocked. When he opened the door, a short burst of chilly, fresh air hit me straight in the face. “This is it. This is what we’ve spent an entire year preparing for. It’s happening,” I thought.

The entire AP Biology class rushed in the room, battling to see who got through the door first. In a civilized manner, I stepped back and waited for everyone to go inside. Being the last one to go in, I shut the door behind me, but I didn’t realize I used such force. The echo of the door slamming lingered in the long, rectangular chamber for a good ten seconds. We waited for the instructor to seat us, as every seat was already pre-assigned. We were arranged in a checkered manner, each student seated diagonal to another.

“Attention, I will be passing out the multiple choice section of your AP exam. Do not toy or mess with the booklet until instructed to do so,” the test instructor blared, sounding as if he were using a megaphone. He grabbed an enormous pile of packets off the corner of his desk. The packets made a loud thud every time they hit the desks. Eventually, that loud thud would reach my desk, as I sat to the very right of the classroom near the windows. In front of me was a very thick packet; the heading read, “AP Biology Section 1: Multiple Choice.” After all housekeeping duties were taken care of, the test instructor finally gave the signal to begin. Hurriedly, I opened up my packet and immediately began reading the first question. I zoomed past the first half of the multiple choice section, completing each question quickly and carefully; it wasn’t a problem. On the other hand, the second half of the test was a bit more difficult. After spending about ten minutes completing thirty questions, I finally got stuck on one. I spent a good five minutes overthinking and stressing on that question, but finally, I decided to move on. This was the case for the rest of the section. With only ten minutes left and over fifteen questions to complete, I was cutting it close; at that point, I started sweating bullets.

“You’re nearing the end of section one, multiple choice. I suggest you start bubbling in random answers for what you have left as you’re not penalized for incorrect responses,” warned the test instructor. With this in mind, I finally decided to make educated guesses. There goes number sixty-one, there goes number sixty-two, there goes number…

“Stop!” I jumped in my seat as the test instructor called time. “Please close your booklets and place them under your seats,” he stated. I tried to get at least one more answer in, since I didn’t even begin the grid-in responses. “That goes for you too, young man.”

“Yes, sir,” I replied. Hesitantly, I closed my packet and placed it under my seat.

“Now, we will be having a short, ten-minute restroom and water break. Make sure that you’re back by ten thirty,” the test instructor said. On the way to the restroom, I walked alongside of David and Richard.

“How’d you guys do?” I asked.

“I completed everything,” David replied, conceitedly.

“As usual,” Richard stated. “How much did you complete, Emmanuel?”

“Man, I didn’t even get to the grid-ins. How about you?”

“That’s rough. I got to the third grid-in,” Richard replied.

Sarcastically, David laughed and said, “Peasants.” He walked away afterwards. After using the bathroom and drinking water, I headed back to the test room. We waited a little longer for everyone to get back. When everyone got back, the test instructor shut the door. It still made the same menacing slam as when I closed it.

“We will now begin section two of your AP test, free response. As you may have already noticed, I passed out the booklets while you were away. Please pick up your pens and begin working,” the test instructor stated. The free-response questions were harder and more rigorous to complete than the multiple choice questions. With this being the case, there were only 8 questions in this section. The first two were long responses, and the others were short responses. From just reading the first question, I already wasted five minutes. These questions were to be completed in essay format, so I got to it. I wrote passionately and knowledgably, making sure to add every last detail I could find. Finally, I finished the first question. “That wasn’t that bad,” I thought to myself, but when I looked up, my heart dropped. I’d wasted over thirty minutes out of the ninety that I had on one question! Oh no, this isn’t good. I ought to hurry up if I want to finish. I wrote less detailed and more focused on the next three questions.

I was about to move on to the next question when the test instructor interrupted: “You have ten minutes left to complete section two. I suggest that you wrap up whatever it may be that you are writing.” No way! How could time have flown by that fast? There’s ten minutes left and I’ve only completed half of the free responses! Quickly, I searched for the easiest question I could find. I wrote mindlessly at a thousand miles per hour.

I had just set my pen down after finishing the question when the test instructor yelled, “Stop!” Not that time, I wouldn’t let myself get cut off again. “Put your pens down and close your booklets. Please pass all test material up to the front. Afterwards, you may grab your stuff and go.” Leaving the test room, I was thinking to myself, “What just happened?” I patiently waited for Richard to gather his supplies; David vanished beforehand.

“Hey, man,” said Richard

Instantly, I grabbed his shoulders and asked him, “How many?”

“I did all of them, but I didn’t write a lot.”

“Dude, I was missing three of the free responses,” I exclaimed.

“My god bro, you are slow,” Richard stated.

“Yeah, yeah. You don’t have to rub it in.” Afterwards, we went over to Dr. Yoham’s room to discuss some doubts that we had. As expected, David was there. While everyone spoke, I sat quietly. What if I didn’t pass? What if I just wasted a year of my time? I didn’t do any of the grid-ins and I didn’t even start on three free response questions! Now it was only a matter of time before the fates decided what would happen to me.

Two months had passed; it was summer by now. I had just arrived at my summer job as a clerk at the local police station. I performed my usual routine: check voicemails, organize cases, and scan papers. I got a chance to sit down before anyone arrived, so I checked my e-mail. I was scrolling through my new mail when I saw the title, “AP Score”. My heart stopped. At that moment, the whole year flashed before my eyes as I sat there frozen with my eyes fixed on the phone screen. I clicked the message, but I closed my eyes as so not to see it yet. I was thinking about what I could’ve gotten.

“I got a three,” I said to myself. I opened up my eyes only to find that, to my surprise, I had gotten a four on the test. Rather than being happy at the moment, I sat there confused on how I got the score I did. I mean, I did miss three free responses and all the grid-ins, but I still get the second highest possible score? After the doubt passed, I was actually pretty proud of myself. I had finally completed my first AP class and passed it with flying colors. Finally, the nerves were over.

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