It's crunch time

DOWNEY -- Spring break has come to an end, and instead of celebrating for the arrival of the final quarter of the year, many students are dreading these next few months of "crunch time.""After spring break, everything speeds up," said student Allison Worthy. "You have testing, AP tests, and finals aren't far behind. In order to prepare, you spend a lot of time studying. But without the break, people would crack under pressure. It's definitely a student's crunch time if you want good grades." Most students share similar viewpoints as Worthy, as the rapidly approaching last weeks of school wave a red flag to students to get their act together and push toward their goals of obtaining good grades. "After spring break, I have to start preparing for finals and testing which can be stressful, but this gives me an opportunity to bring my grades up," said junior Julie Ledesma. April and May are also the infamous months of test preparation and test taking, and are the last obstacles students must overcome before being rewarded with a school-free summer vacation. Within these hectic months, teachers are rushing to finish the curriculum and material, while trying to work around the Standardized Testing and Reporting schedules, which in turn increases the stress on the students' parts. But for many other students, the stress doesn't stop with state testing. Academically competitive students are in the Advance Placement collegiate level classes, and are expected to take the Advanced Placement tests in the first two weeks of May. "During the last months of school, academics become my life!" said sophomore Darien Fehn. "I am in an AP European History class, so the biggest test of the year requires a lot of preparation and dedication. Also, state testing comes along. I have to make sure I stay focused. Wait, there's even more, especially for the juniors. With college applications swiftly approaching, college-bound juniors are also preparing to take the SATs, the ACTs, or both. Preparation for these classes may mean anything from reviewing guideline and prep books such as the Princeton Review, or taking certain SAT classes specialized to raise those scores. Regardless, juniors are being bombarded with the need to prepare for various tests that can make or break their college applications that will be completed later this fall. For many four-year universities, taking additional SAT II tests, or the SAT Subject tests, are an additional requirement. What a headache "It's always hard coming back to school after a week of relaxing, but with senior year less than 11 weeks ahead focusing on classes is key," said Chelsea Vinas. "I want to make sure senior year is filled with enjoyable classes and no repeats." It is very important for all students to keep in mind that a D or an F on a report card can be devastating to one's transcript, and often times require a retake of the class during the summer or the following year. It would be wise to take Vinas' advice and focus on academics these next few months, or else you may be stuck with taking a class all over again next year But the only group of students that can truly take a deep breath and relax a bit these next few months are the top dogs of the school, the seniors. With college nearing very soon, the only thing seniors need to worry about is choosing which school they will next be attending, how to make that transition, and of course keeping grades up to a decent level. But otherwise, seniors are free from the stresses of standardized testing and finals.

********** Published: April 16, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 52