The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


Students React to Testing Season, Its Stresses and Preparation

Joseph Abrahantes
The month of May marks the beginning of a fast-paced, stressful time for students. Cavaliers take both state-wide tests and specific exams for their respective academies or courses and they are starting to feel the pressure.

With testing season just around the corner, pressure is starting to build up among students with the upcoming tests, including the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking, Benchmark for Excellent Student Thinking and Advanced Placement exams. These exams will begin soon and participating students have noticed the anxiety lingering around campus. Whether Cavaliers feel prepared or ill-equipped, expectations from teachers and parents alike are high.

Flipping through flashcards is not the only tactic Cavaliers have been using in preparation for their exams. Well-known resources like Khan Academy and YouTube are seeing more visitors as “cram sessions” begin. Cavaliers have implemented group study sessions at the Coral Gables Library and visited their teachers during the school day in order to ensure their success. In search for the best study strategies, no stone has been left unturned.

“Since the AP European History course has an array of events to remember, my teacher, Mrs. Landsea, gives us significant dates from the course in the form of what she calls the ‘Date List.’ When AP testing season is around the corner she gives us quizzes on the dates every class so we keep the dates memorized, which can help us on all portions of the exam. The list is very well known among Mrs. Landsea’s students for being so effective; most people remember the list for years to come,” sophomore Scarlett Estrada said.

“I use a number of study strategies for AP testing. I usually review my notes multiple times throughout the week to really absorb the information, all while I use Quizlets for important vocabulary and events. One study method I really enjoy is the Pomodoro Technique. You split your work into 25-minute increments with short breaks in between. It helps with my attention span and so I do not overload myself with work,” sophomore Gabriella Arango said.

“During this time of the year, I do not just have one test to study for, I have multiple. AP Psychology, AP English Literature and AP United States History are my three AP tests I have to take this year, so I have a lot of studying to do. One simple study strategy I love is using is flashcards. For APUSH I use flashcards for events, putting the event on one side and the description on the other. Flashcards are a super useful technique that I would recommend to anyone,” junior Caitlin Savage said. 

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For Cavaliers who have challenged themselves in preparation for college with the AP program, time is truly coming down to the wire. AP courses are known for their rigor, expecting students to memorize varied concepts, dates and events as well as their implications. Students often put enormous effort into these courses and their respective exams, as they can supplement classes in college. AP testing begins on May 6 and students are scrambling to ensure they can secure college credits.

“I am taking three AP courses this year: AP English Language, AP European History and AP Human Geography. There is a ton of content to remember, especially in APHG and AP Euro. With AP Lang, we have to write three essays in the exam within 2 hours and 15 minutes, some of which you must dedicate to attentive reading. One essay for AP Lang requires you to use purely outside information to support an argument, the focus of which you do not know until you reach the question. From AP Euro dates and APHG concepts to AP Lang thesis writing, it is absolutely hard to balance,” sophomore Estrada said. 

“All AP courses are challenging. Some people may say one specific AP class is easier than the other but at the end of the day, AP classes are very rigorous courses and require a lot of memorization and studying. Every student who takes an AP class wants to pass, not just with the minimum passing score of three, but aiming for a four or a five. It’s hard because most colleges won’t even accept students who get a 3 on their AP tests, so students have to study extra hard to get a higher score that universities will actually accept,” junior Melissa Hernandez said.

“This year I am taking four AP exams and not only do I have limited time to study ahead of time, but I also do not have much breathing room between exams. I have about three days between my exams on average, with two of my exams being on the same day. Just the thought of having to take two college level exams back-to-back is daunting, let alone the work that goes in to each of them,” sophomore Paz Chizo said.

Between the chugging of energy drinks and sipping of coffee, Cavaliers are experiencing much more than a simple cram session. In the midst of such a time-sensitive season, students often prioritize their scores over their own wellbeing. Stress is incredibly common among students, with 45% of high schoolers encountering it, but these symptoms are exacerbated by exams and the expectations behind them. Cavaliers share their experience handling the pressure. 

“The amount of stress that I am put under during testing season is honestly insane. I have soccer practice for a club outside of school almost everyday and I have games on the weekends that could be super late at night, causing me to go to sleep late and not giving me enough time in the day to really study for all my tests, so I have to manage my time extremely well,” sophomore Brooke Lawson said.

“I feel extremely overwhelmed and anxious during the season of testing. I have to manage my time really well to make sure I study for all of my tests. I don’t want to mainly focus on only one test so I can get a good score on all of them. It’s a struggle trying to manage my personal life with school. When I get home I have to eat dinner, shower, make my bed and also manage to get a good night’s sleep so I am fully rested for the next day of studying. So yes, testing season isn’t an easy time,” sophomore Hazel Grosell said. 

School and testing stress is not something I take very lightly. I care about academics a lot so if I catch myself even being a little bit behind on work, I freak out. But I also try to take breaks and try my hardest to manage stress. I think self care is one of the biggest things all students need to pay attention to, especially during testing season. I always try to eat healthy, get good sleep, spend some time alone and do activities that bring me joy. Whether that’s watching my favorite show, reading a book, hanging out with friends or family, I try to prioritize this every now and then to allow myself to let loose and take a step back,” sophomore Prudence Truchot said. 

“I am a person who can get stressed really easily so I get overwhelmed quite quickly. I try to take a step back and realize the power is in my hands, I do have time to study. I have everything in my mind, I have been learning this content for the past months, so I know what I am doing. I also remind myself I am not alone; our whole student body is stressed, no matter how smart or prepared [students] are. Knowing I am not alone is a very big thing for me, I know I can get the support I need from my friends especially since they are also under the same circumstances as me,” sophomore Arango said.

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About the Contributors
Joseph Abrahantes
Joseph Abrahantes, CavsConnect Business Manager
Joseph Abrahantes, a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program and second year member of CavsConnect, is excited to come back as the publication's Business Manager. Hoping to work in STEM in the future, Joseph plans to get more involved with the Science National Honor Society as well as Gables' Science, Engineering, Communication, Mathematics and Enrichment club to further his experience. Additionally, his love for biology has driven him to become a tutor with Gables’ Interact club. Joseph fuels his academic spirit with his 10 hour long playlist, ranging from Kendrick and Baby Keem to Doja Cat and SZA, whose songs he knows by heart.
Elyse Harris
Elyse Harris, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Elyse Harris is currently a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program at Coral Gables Senior High. This is her first year in CavsConnect, and she is thrilled to start her journey in the publication, hoping to improve her writing skills. She enjoys writing poetry, going to the beach, hanging out with friends and you will always catch her listening to music. As someone who is very academically focused, she hopes to become a doctor and participate in medical research in the future. Still, Elyse tries to always keep a balance between school and her social life. During this school year, she is excited to learn new things and is prepared for anything she may encounter.
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