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Students may struggle with shorter semester

MON.| 2-27-23 | OPINION

     This school year, there is a difference of 24 whole school days between the two semesters which will greatly affect all students taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams. The first semester consisted of 85 school days, while the second semester only consists of 61 before the start of AP exams. 

     This means that AP teachers are having to cram lessons into a shorter amount of time while simultaneously making sure they cover all of the material that may be on the exam. Students and teachers are having to adapt to new plans and a much tighter schedule. Some students are forced to retain information in 24 less days than previous students.

     I feel certain that AP teachers here at Rose will do all that they can to prepare students for AP exams, but it is definitely still a stressful thought as this is new to the students. 

shorter semester pic.jpg

Graphic by Sara Scarborough

     Another factor that plays into this short semester is the timing of Pitt County Schools’ spring break. This year, the break falls in mid-March when typically it is around Easter. Since it is abnormally early this year, we will have that week off and an additional few days off around the Easter holiday. If we had a normal spring break around Easter, we would have more school days this semester since the two aforementioned breaks would be combined.

     If anything, I feel as if it would be more ideal if the first semester were the shorter one. This is because the end of second semester is always crammed with reviewing for exams and now, on top of this reviewing, students will still be learning material due to the shorter semester. If the first semester were to end before winter break and we came back to school to start the second semester, students would come back refreshed and less stressed about the time available. The semesters could be evened out and some days could be saved for reviewing for AP exams, especially for the fall AP courses. 

     The problem with the timing of AP exams is that students who took AP courses in the fall have to go a whole semester without learning that class's material. Yes, they could be periodically reviewing but generally their focus is going to lay in their spring semester classes. Since exams are at the beginning of January anyways, why not also have fall AP exams in January so that the material is fresh on students’ minds? I know I feel a lot more confident on my spring semester AP exams rather than my fall ones and I am definitely not the only one.

     So, to make a more ideal and equal schedule for both students and teachers, why not end the first semester right before winter break, have fall semester AP exams in December or January and start the second semester when returning from break?

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