Editorial: Relay negatively interferes with AP testing

Relay For Life promises a fun overnight event with friends while being able to give back and raise money for cancer research. For the past four years, members of Spokesman have participated on a publication team. However, Relay’s event planning has a conflicting problem.

Relay’s planned event for Saturday, May 4, conflicts with the upcoming week of Advanced Placement (AP) testing starting on Monday, May 6 and brings forward the issue of sleep schedules and distractions with test preparations. Spokesman is concerned with how pulling an all-nighter the weekend before tests will affect AP students.

At 6 a.m., students hazily pack up their sleeping bags and stumble across the football field as they flee the school in hopes of finding a warm bed at home to sleep in for the rest of the day. In an ideal situation, students should spend their time resting and studying over the weekend. While leading up to a large test, students should maintain a consistent sleep schedule of eight to nine hours of sleep each night.

AP students have prepared all year for these tests. The ability to earn college credit in high school provides future benefits. Missing sleep prevents concentration, and according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), success on exams in the classroom is tied to sleep.

By looking at brain responses of students who do not get enough sleep, scientists have accurately predicted the impact sleep loss has on their ability to pay attention during the course of a day. Because the College Board purposefully  chooses hard questions in an attempt to trick students, a lack of sleep can negatively impact a student’s score on the multiple choice portion of the AP Test.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to catch up on sleep in one long session.

Last year, the event took place on Saturday, May 19, which made the overnighter with friends even more enjoyable because the stress of AP testing was behind us. Also, it is harder to spend time fundraising for Relay while also preparing for these major tests. How can we ask a student to choose between studying for AP World History or baking cupcakes to sell to raise money for cancer?

There is a reason why division heads specifically tell teachers not to overwhelm their students during the AP testing week.

While Spokesman will attend the event because it is something dear to our hearts and we support its efforts, we hope to not see much of a difference between test scores from previous years.