Guest Posting on Insanity: A Student’s Letter to College Board

May 26, 2012 — 5 Comments

This past semester, each of my Advanced Placement English Literature students adopted one word as the subject of blog posts for ten weeks. After careful consideration, TJ chose the word “insanity”. For ten weeks , he wrote about insanity in literature, in science, in crime and in Dr. Who episodes. His final submission on insanity was written during the second week of May, when he was taking one AP exam after another. He was delighted to share the text of his final blog with the public, and hopefully, the College Board:

Dear College Board:
As a taker of two AP exams in the past (and 3 more in the near future), such challenging tests are nothing new to me. However, some tests have reached a new level of difficulty. This level can only be described as ludicrous, absurd, ridiculous, hysterical and, most importantly, completely and utterly insane.

Now, one may at first think that I am overreacting. Let that person read the following AP question:

At approximately what temperature will 40.0 grams of argon gas at 2.0 atmospheres occupy a volume of 22.4 liters?

A. 1,200 K
B. 600 K
C. 550 K
D. 270 K
E. 140 K

Now, before any taker of Junior level chemistry mocks me for using the simple question as an example, keep in mind that all chemistry multiple choice are WITHOUT A CALCULATOR. Now, most students know that to find the temperature of a gas, they would use the equation T=(PV)/(nR). Now, the formula mass of argon is approximately 40, and since we have 40 grams, n=1. The equation is now T=(PV)/R. With all other variables put in, T=((2)(22.4))/.0821=44.8/.0821. So, good luck doing that without a calculator. If one rounds these numbers to 45 and .1 respectively, however, their answer will still come out to 450. While closest to C, this leaves a huge margin of error. Not only does this test expect too much from the student, but it leaves doubt in any answer containing the words “Approximately, About, Closest To,” or “Near.”

The only reasonable explanation is that the good folks at College Board are complete lunatics. Who else would require a student to know specific uses of every single compound known to man (in addition to all other aspects of chemistry), charge $30.00 to have SAT scores rush-shipped ELECTRONICALLY (and still have it show up late), and all at the same time still think itself the world leader on college affairs?

We must stop this madness. Fellow Highschooligans, we must take up in arms against this insane, rogue organization. Like a precursor to Skynet, College Board is ruthless and will stop at nothing until full world domination is reached. Join me in the fight against insanity!

TJ is a senior graduating this June. I will miss his essays.

5 responses to Guest Posting on Insanity: A Student’s Letter to College Board


    Thanks for sharing.


    I can see why you will miss his essays! I also LOVE the assignment!


    Reblogged this on Eleanore's Ramblings… and commented:
    Love this! Students are our greatest teachers!

I would like to hear what you think...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.